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Hoc meum tsvle quale est accipe. 




[All Rights Reserved] 

Richard Clay & Sons, 
bread street hill, london, 

And Bungay, Suffolk. 

^clobctf ^upil! ^amcti bg tfjce, 
mutitsfjs 5ubtrac=, fHultipIica4ion, 

Stfaision, jFracttons, Eulc of Cfjrrc, 
^ttfst tijg tirft manipulation ! 

Z\)m onbarti I lift tfjr faoirr of JFamr 
5rom ^gc to 'Igc repeat tfjg storg, 

ZiW tf)ou f)3st fajon tfjgsclf a namr 
Ercretiing cfaen lEutWs glorg ! 

P K E F A C E. 

This Tale originally appeared as a serial in The 
Monthly Packet, beginning in April, 1880. The writer's 
intention was to embody in each Knot (like the 
medicine so dexterously, but ineffectually, concealed 
in the jam of our early childhood) one or more 
mathematical questions — in Arithmetic, Algebra, or 
Geometry, as the case might be — for the amusement, 
and possible edification, of the fair readers of that 

L. C. 

October, 1885. 



I. Excelsior 1 

11. Eligible Apartments 4 

III. Mad Mathesis 13 

IV. The Dead Reckoning 19 

V. Oughts and Crosses 27 

VI. Her Radiancy 34 

VII. Petty Cash 43 

VIIL* De Omnibus Rebus 52 

IX. A Serpent with Corners 58 

X. Chelsea Buns 66 

Answers to Knot 1 77 

II 84 

„ ni 90 

„ IV 96 

V 102 

VI 106 

„ VII 112 

,. VIII 132 

., IX. . . 135 

X 142 




Goblin, lead them up and down."' 

The ruddy glow of sunset was already fading 
into tlie sombre shadows of night, when two 
travellers might have been observed swiftly — at a 
pace of six miles in the hour — descending the 
rugged side of a mountain ; the younger bounding 
from crag to crag with the agility of a fawn, while 
his companion, whose aged limbs seemed ill at ease 
in the heavy chain armour habitually worn by 
tourists in that district, toiled on painfully at his 

As is always the case under such circumstances, 
the younger knight was the first to break the 

2 A Tangled Tale. 

" A goodly pace, I trow ! " he exclaimed. " We 
sped not thus in the ascent ! " 

"Goodly, indeed!" the other echoed with a 
oToan. " We clomb it but at three miles in the 

" And on the dead level our pace is ? " the 

younger suggested ; for he was weak in statistics, 
and left all such details to his aged companion. 

" Four miles in the hour," the other wearily 
replied. " Not an ounce more," he added, with 
that love of metaphor so common in old age, " and 
not a farthing; less ! " 

'* 'Twas three hours past high noon when we left 
our hostelry," the young man said, musingly. " We 
shall scarce be back by supper-time. Perchance 
mine host will roundly deny us all food ! " 

" He will chide our tardy return," was the grave 
reply, " and such a rebuke will be meet." 

•• A brave conceit ! " cried the other, with a merry 
laugh. "And should we bid him bring us yet 
another course, I trow his answer will be tart ! " 

" \Ve shall but get our deserts," sighed the elder 
knight, who had never seen a joke in his life, and 
was somewhat displeased at his companion's un- 
timely levity. " 'Twill be nine of the clock," he 

I. Excelsior. 8 

added in an undertone, '•' by the time we regain our 
hostelry. Full many a mile shall we have plodded 
this day ! " 

*' How many ? How many ? " cried the eager 
youth, ever athirst for knowledge. 

The old man was silent. 

" Tell me," he answ^ered, after a moment's 
thought, " wdiat time it was when we stood to- 
gether on yonder peak. Not exact to the minute ! " 
he added hastily, reading a protest in the young 
man's face. " An' thy guess be within one poor 
half-hour of the mark, 'tis all I ask of thy mother's 
son ! Then wdll I tell thee, true to the last inch, 
how far we shall have trudged betwixt three and 
nine of the clock." 

A groan was the young man's only reply ; while 
his convulsed features and the deep WTinkles that 
chased each other across his manly brow, revealed 
the abyss of arithmetical agony into which one 
chance question had plunged him. 

KNOT 11. 


" Straight down the crooked lane, 
And all round the square." 

"Let's ask Balbus about it," said Hugh, 

"All riofht," said Lambert. 

" He can guess it," said Hugh. 

"Rather," said Lambert. 

No more words were needed : the two brothers 
understood each other perfectly. 

Balbus w^as w\aiting for them at the hotel : the 
journey dow^n had tired him, he said : so his two 
pupils had been the round of the place, in search of 
lodi(ino[s, without the old tutor who had been their 
inseparable companion from their childhood. They 
had named him after the hero of their Latin 
exercise-book, wdiicli overflowed with anecdotes of 
that versatile genius — anecdotes whose vaojueness 


6 A Tangled Tale. 

in detail was more than compensated by their 
sensational brilliance. " Balbus has overcome all 
his enemies" had been marked by their tutor, in the 
margin of the book, "Successful Bravery." In 
this way he had tried to extract a moral from every 
anecdote about Balbus — -sometimes one of warninof, 
as in " Balbus had borrowed a healthy dragon," 
against which he had written " Rashness in Specu- 
lation " — ^sometimes of encouragement, as in the 
words " Influence of Sympathy in United Action,'" 
which stood op230site to the anecdote " Balbus was 
assisting^ his mother-in-law to convince the draofon " 
— and sometimes it dwindled down to a single word, 
such as "Prudence," which was all he could 
extract from the touching record that ''Balbus, 
having scorched the tail of the dragon, went away." 
His pupils liked the short morals best, as it left 
them more room for marginal illustrations, and in 
this instance they required all the space they could 
get to exhibit the rapidity of the hero's departure. 
Their report of the state of things was dis- 
couramno". That most fashionable of waterinof- 
places, Little Mendip, was " chockfull " (as the 
boys expressed it) from end to end. But in one 
Square they had seen no less than four cards, in 

TI. Eligible Apartments. 7 

different houses, all annoimcing in flaming capitals 
"eligible apartments." ''So there's plenty of 
choice, after all, you see, ' said spokesman Hugh 
in conclusion. 

" That doesn't follow from the data," said Balbus, 
as he rose from the easy chair, where he had been 
dozing over The Little Mendip Gazette. " They 
may be all single rooms. However, we may as 
well see them. I shall be glad to stretch my legs 
a bit." 

An unprejudiced bystander might have objected 
that the operation was needless, and that this long, 
lank creature would have been all the better with 
even shorter leg;s : but no such thoug;ht occurred to 
his loving pupils. One on each side, they did their 
best to keep up with his gigantic strides, while 
Hugh repeated the sentence in their father's letter, 
just received from abroad, over which he and 
Lambert had been puzzling. " He says a friend of 

his, the Governor of what was that name again, 

Lambert ? " ('' Kgovjni," said Lambert.) " Well, 

yes. The Governor of what-you-may-call-it 

-wants to give a very small dinner-party, and 

he means to ask his father's brother-in-law, his 
brother's father-in-law, his father-in-law's brother. 

8 A Tangled Tale. 

and his brother-in-law's father : and we're to guess 
how many guests there will be." 

There was an anxious pause. '' Hoiv large did 
he say the pudding was to be ? " Balbus said at last. 
" Take its cubical contents, divide by the cubical 
contents of what each man can eat, and the 
quotient " 

"He didn't say anything about pudding," said 
Hugh, " — ^and here's the Square," as they turned a 
corner and came into sight of the "eligible apart- 

"It is a Square!" was Balbus' first cry of 
delight, as he gazed around him. " Beautiful ! 
Beau-ti-ful ! Equilateral ! And rectangular ! " 

The boys looked round with less enthusiasm. 
" Number nine is the first with a card," said prosaic 
Lambert ; but Balljus would not so soon awake 
from his dream of beauty. 

" See, boys ! " he cried. " Twenty doors on a 
side ! What symmetry ! Each side divided into 
twenty-one equal parts ! It's delicious ! " 

" Shall I knock, or rino^ ? " said Huo-h, looking^ in 
some perplexity at a square brass plate which bore 
the simple inscription " eixg also." 

"Both," said Balbus. "That's an Ellipsis, 

II. Eligible Apartments. 9 

my boy. Did you never see an Ellipsis be- 
fore ? " 

" I couldn't hardly read it," said Hugh, evasively. 
'•' It's no good having an Ellipsis, if they don't keep 
it clean." 

" Which there is one room, gentlemen," said the 
smiling landlady. " And a sweet room too ! As 
snug a little back-room " 

" We will see it," said Balbus gloomily, as they 
followed her in. "I knew how it would be ! One 
room in each house ! No view, I suppose ? " 

" Which indeed there is, gentlemen ! " the land- 
lady indignantly protested, as she drew up the 
blind, and indicated the back garden. 

" Cabbages, 1 perceive," said Balbus. " Well, 
they're green, at any rate." 

" Which the greens at the shops," their hostess ex- 
plained, " are by no means dependable upon. Here 
you has them on the premises, and of the best." 

" Does the wdndow open ? " was always Balbus' 
first question in testing a lodging : and '•' Does the 
chimney smoke?" his second. Satisfied on all 
points, he secured the refusal of the room, and 
they moved on to Number Twenty-five. 

This landlady was grave and stern. " I've 

10 A Tangled Tale. 

nobbiit one room left," slie told tliem : " and it 
gives on the back-gyardin." 

"But there are cabbages?" Balbus suggested. 

The landlady visibly relented. " There is, sir," 
she said : " and good ones, though I say it as 
shouldn't. We can't rely on the shops for greens. 
So we grows them ourselves." 

" A singular advantage," said Balbus : and, after 
the usual questions, they wxnt on to Fifty-two. 

" And I'd gladly accommodate you all, if I 
could," was the greeting that met them. " We are 
but mortal," ("Irrelevant!" muttered Balbus) "and 
I've let all my rooms but one." 

" Which one is a back-room, I perceive," said 
Balbus : " and looking out on — on cabbages, I 
presume ? " 

" Yes, indeed, sir ! " said their hostess. " What- 
ever other folks may do, lue grows our own. For 
the shops " 

" An excellent arrangement ! " Balbus inter- 
rupted. " Then one can really depend on their 
being good. Does the window open ? " 

The usual questions were answered satisfactorily : 
but this time Hugh added one of his own invention 
— " Does the cat scratch ? " 

11. Eligible Apartments. 11 

The landlady looked round suspiciously, as if 
to make sure the cat was not listening, " I will 
not deceive you, gentlemen," she said. " It do 
scratch, but not without you pulls its whiskers ! 
It'll never do it," she repeated slowly, with a 
visible effort to recall the exact words of some 
written aOTeement between herself and the cat, 
"without you pulls its Avhiskers ! " 

'' Much may be excused in a cat so treated," said 
Balbus, as they left the house and crossed to 
Number Seventy-three, leaving the landlady curt- 
seying on the doorstep, and still murmuring to 
herself her parting words, as if they were a form 

of blessing, " not without you pulls its 

whiskers ! " 

At Number Seventy-three they found only a 
small shy girl to show the house, who said 
" yes'm " in answer to all questions. 

" The usual room," said Balbus, as they marched 
in : " the usual back-garden, the usual cabbages. 
1 suppose you can't get them good at the shops ? " 
" Yes'm," said the o^irl. 

" Well, you may tell your mistress we will take 
the room, and that her plan of growing her own 
cabbages is simply admirable ! "' 

12 A Tangled Tale. 

" Yes'm," said the girl, as she showed them out. 

" One day-room and three bed-rooms," said 
Balbns, as they returned to the hoteL '• We will 
take as our day-room the one that gives us the 
least walking to do to get to it." 

" Must we walk from door to door, and count 
the steps ? " said Lambert. 

" No, no ! Figure it out, my boys, figure it 
out ! " Balbus gaily exclaimed, as he put pens, 
ink, and paper before his hapless pupils, and left 
the room. 

•• I say ! It'll be a job ! " said Hugh. 

'•' Kather I " said Lambert. 



'• I waited for llie train." 

" Well, they call me so because I am a little 
mad, I suppose," she said, good-humouredly, in 
answer to Clara's cautiously- worded question as to 
how she came hj so strange a nick-name. " You 
see, I never do what sane people are expected to do 
now-a-days. I never wear long trains, (talking of 
trains, that's the Charing Cross Metropolitan 
Station — I've something to tell you about that), 
and I never play lawn-tennis. I can't cook 
an omelette. I can't even set a broken limb ! 
There s an ignoramus for you ! " 

Clara was her niece, and full twenty years 
her junior ; in fact, she Avas still attending a High 
School — an institution of which Mad Mathesis 
spoke with undisguised aversion. " Let a woman 

14 A Tangled Tale. 

be meek and lowly ! " slie would say. " None of 
your High Schools for me ! " But it was vacation- 
time just now, and Clara was her guest, and Mad 
Mathesis w^as showing her the sights of that Eighth 
AVonder of the world — London. 

'' The Charing Cross Metropolitan Station ! " she 
resumed, waving her hand towards the entrance as 
if she were introducincr her niece to a friend. 


" The Bayswater and Birmingham Extension is 
just completed, and the trains now run round and 
round continuously — skirting the border of AVales, 
just touching at York, and so round by the east 
coast back to London. The w^ay the trains run is 
most peculiar. The w^esterly ones go round in two 
hoars ; the easterly ones take three ; but they 
always manage to start two trains from here, 
opposite w^ays, punctually every quarter-of-an- 

" They part to meet again," said Clara, her eyes 
fillino' with tears at the romantic thousfht. 

" No need to cry about it 1 " her aunt grimly 
remarked. " They don't meet on the same line of 
rails, you know. Talking of meeting, an idea 
strikes me ! " she added, changing the subject with 
her usual abruptness. " Let's go opposite ways 

III. Mad Mathesis. 15 

round, and see which can meet most trains. No 
need for a chaperon — ladies' saloon, you know. 
You shall go whichever way you like, and we'll 
have a bet about it ! " 

" I never make bets," Clara said very gravely. 

" Our excellent preceptress has often warned 


" You'd be none the worse if you did ! " Mad 
Mathesis interrupted. "In fact, you'd be the 
better, I'm certain ! " 

" Neither does our excellent preceptress apjDrove 
of puns," said Clara. " But we'll have a match, if 
you like. Let me choose my train," she added 
after a brief mental calculation, ''and I'll engage 
to meet exactly half as many again as you do." 

" Not if you count fair," Mad Mathesis bluntly 
interrupted. " Remember, we only count the 
trains we meet on the icay. You mustn't count 
the one that starts as you start, nor the one that 
arrives as you arrive." 

" That will only make the difference of one train," 
said Clara, as they turned and entered the station. 
" But I never travelled alone before. There'll be 
no one to help me to alight. However, I don't 
mind. Let's have a match." 

IG A TAis-GLED Tale. 

A ragged little boy overheard her remark, and 
came running after her. "Buy a box of cigar- 
lights, Miss ! " he pleaded, jDuUing her shawl to 
attract her attention. Clara stojiped to explain. 

'' I never smoke cigars," she said in a meekly 

apologetic tone. " Our excellent preceptress ," 

but Mad Mathesis impatiently hurried her on, and 
the little boy was left gazing after her with round 
eyes of amazement. 

The two ladies bought their tickets and moved 
slowly down the central platform, Mad Mathesis 
prattling on as usual — Clara silent, anxiously re- 
considering the calculation on which she rested her 
hopes of winning the match. 

"Mind where you go, dear!" cried her aunt, 
checking her just in time. " One step more, and 
you'd have been in that pail of cold water ! " 

" I know, I know," Clara said, dreamily. " The 
pale, the cold, and the moony " 

" Take your places on the spring-boards ! " 
shouted a porter. 

" "What are theij for ! " Clara asked in a terrified 

"Merely to help us into the trains." The elder 
lady spoke with the nonchalance of one quite used 

III. Mad Mathesis. 17 

to the process. " Very few people can get into a 
carriage without help in less than three seconds, 
and the trains only stop for one second." At this 
moment the wdiistle was heard, and two trains 
rushed into the station. A moment's pause, and 
they were gone again ; but in that brief interval 
several hundred passengers had been shot into 
them, each flying straight to his place with the 
accuracy of a Minie bullet — while an equal number 
were showered out upon the side -platforms. 

Three hours had passed away, and the two 
friends met again on the Charing Cross platform, 
and eagerly compared notes. Then Clara turned 
away with a sigh. To young impulsive hearts, like 
hers, disappointment is always a bitter jDill. Mad 
Mathesis followed her, full of kindly sympathy. 

" Try again, my love ! " she said, cheerily. '' Let 
us vary the experiment. We will start as we did 
before, but not to begin counting till our trains 
meet. When we see each other, we will say 
' One ! ' and so count on till we come here as^ain." 

Clara brightened up. " I shall win that,'' she 
exclaimed eagerly, " if I may choose my train ! " 

Another shriek of engine whistles, another up- 
heaving of spring-boards, another living avalanche 


18 A Tangled Tale. 

plunging into two trains as they flashed by : and 
the travellers were off again. 

Each gazed eagerly from her carriage window, 
holding up her handkerchief as a signal to her 
friend. A rush and a roar. Two trains shot past 
each other in a tunnel, and two travellers leaned 
back in their corners with a sigh — or rather with 
two sighs — of relief. " One ! " Clara murmured to 
herself "Won! It's a word of good omen. This 
time, at any rate, the victory will be mine ! " 

But luas it ? 



" I did dream of money-bags to-niglit." 

Noonday on tlie open sea within a few degrees 
of the Equator is apt to be oppressively warm ; 
and our two travellers were now airily clad in suits 
of dazzlinor white linen, havins: laid aside the chain- 
armour which they had found not only endurable 
in the cold mountain air they had lately been 
breathing, but a necessary precaution against the 
daggers of the banditti who. infested the heights. 
Their holiday- trip was over, and they were now on 
their way home, in the monthly packet which plied 
between the two great ports of the island they had 
been exploring. 

Along with their armour, the tourists had laid 
aside the antiquated speech it had pleased them 
to affect while in knightly disguise, and had 

c 2 

20 A Tangled Tale. 

returned to the ordinary style of two country 
gentlemen of the Twentieth Century. 

Stretched on a pile of cushions, under the shade 
of a huge umbrella, they were lazily watching 
some native fishermen, who had come on board at 
the last landing-place, each carrying over his 
shoulder a small but heavy sack. A large weigh- 
ing-machine, that had been used for cargo at the 
last port, stood on the deck ; and round this the 
fishermen had gathered, and, with much unin- 
telligible jabber, seemed to be weighing their 

" More like sparrows in a tree than human talk, 
isn't it ? " the elder tourist remarked to his son, 
who smiled feebly, but would not exert himself so 
far as to speak. The old man tried another 

" What have they got in those sacks, Captain ? " 
he inquired, as that great being passed them in his 
never ending parade to and fro on the deck. 

The Captain paused in his march, and towered 
over the travellers — tall, grave, and serenely self- 

"Fishermen," he explained, ''are often passen- 
gers in My ship. These ^yq are from Mhruxi — 

IV. The Dead Eeckonixg. 21 

the place we last touched at — and that's the way 
they carry their money. The money of this island 
is heavy, gentlemen, but it costs little, as you may 
guess. We buy it from them by weight — about 
five shillings a pound. I fancy a ten pound-note 
would buy all those sacks." 

By this time the old man had closed his eyes — 
in order, no doul^t, to concentrate his thoughts on 
these interesting facts ; but the Captain failed to 
realise his motive, and with a grunt resumed his 
monotonous march. 

Meanwhile the fishermen were getting so noisy 
over the weio^hino^-machine that one of the sailors 
took the precaution of carrying off all the weights, 
leaving them to amuse themselves with such 
substitutes in the form of winch-handles, belaying- 
pins, &c., as they could find. This brought their 
excitement to a speedy end : they carefully hid 
their sacks in the folds of the jib that lay on the 
deck near the tourists, and strolled away. 

When next the Captain's heavy footfall passed, 
the younger man roused himself to speak. 

" What did you call the place those fellows 
came from, Captain ? '^ he asked. 

"Mhruxi, sir." 

22 A Tangled Tale. 

'' And the one we are bound for ? " 

The Captain took a long breath, plunged into 
the word, and came out of it nobly. " They call it 
Kgovjni, sir." 

'•' K — I give it up ! " the young man faintly said. 

He stretched out his hand for a glass of iced 
water which the compassionate steward had brought 
him a minute ago, and had set down, unluckily, 
just outside the shadow of the umbrella. It was 
scalding; hot, and he decided not to drink it. The 
effort of making this resolution, coming close on 
the fatiguing conversation he had just gone through, 
was too much for him : he sank back among the 
cushions in silence. 

His father courteously tried to make amends 
for his nonchalance. 

" Whereabouts are we now, Captain ? " said he, 
" Have you any idea '? " 

The Captain cast a pitying look on the ignorant 
landsman. " I could tell you that, sir," he said, in 
a tone of lofty condescension, '' to an inch ! " 

" You don't say so I" the old man remarked, in 
a tone of languid surprise. 

•''And mean so," persisted the Captain. "Why, 
what do you suppose would become of My 

lY. The Dead Reckoning. 23 

ship, if I were to lose My Longitude and My 
Latitude '? Could you make anything of My Dead 
Reckoning '? " 

"Nobody could, I'm sure!" the other heartily 

But he had overdone it. 

" It's perfectly intelligible," the Captain said, in 
an offended tone, " to any one that understands 
such things." AVith these words he moved away, 
and be^an givins: orders to the men, who were 
preparing to hoist the jib. 

Our tourists w^atched the operation with such 
interest that neither of them remembered the five 
money-bags, which in another moment, as the wind 
filled out the jib, were whirled overboard and fell 
heavily into the sea. 

But the poor fishermen had not so easily for- 
gotten their property. In a moment they had 
rushed to the spot, and stood uttering cries of fury, 
and pointing, now to the sea, and now to the 
sailors who had caused the disaster. 

The old man explained it to the Captain. 

" Let us make it up among us," he added in 
conclusion. " Ten pounds will do it, I think you 
said ? " 


A Tangled Tale. 

But tlie Captain put aside the suggestion with a 
wave of the hand. 

" No, sir ! " he said, in his grandest manner. 
" You will excuse Me, I am sure ; but these are My 
passengers. The accident has happened on board 
My ship, and under My orders. It is for Me to 

IV. The Dead Eeckoning. 25 

make compensation." He turned to the angry 
fisliermen. " Come here, my men ! " he said, in 
the Mhrnxian dialect. "Tell me the weight 
of each sack. I saw you weighing them just 

Then ensued a j^erfect Babel of noise, as the five 
natives explained, all screaming together, how 
the sailors had carried off the weights, and they 
had done what they could with whatever came 

Two iron belaying-pins, three blocks, six holy- 
stones, four winch-handles, and a large hammer, 
were now carefully weighed, the Captain superin- 
tendino; and noting; the results. But the matter 
did not seem to be settled, even then : an angry 
discussion followed, in which the sailors and the 
five natives all joined : and at last the Captain 
approached our tourists with a disconcerted look, 
which he tried to conceal under a laugh. 

" It's an absurd difficulty," he said. '' Perhaps 
one of you gentlemen can suggest something. It 
seems they weighed the sacks two at a time ! " 

" If they didn't have five separate weighings, of 
course you can't value them separately," the youth 
hastily decided. 

26 A Tangled Tale. 

" Let's hear all about it," was tlie old man's more 
cautious remark. 

" They did have five separate weighings," the 
Captain said, " but — Well, it beats me entirely ! " 
he added, in a sudden burst of candour. " Here's 
the result. First and second sack weighed twelve 
pounds; second and third, thirteen and a half; 
third and fourth, eleven and a half; fourth 
and fifth, eight : and then they say they had 
only the large hammer left, and it took three 
sacks to weish it down — that's the first, third 
and fifth — and they weighed sixteen pounds. 
There, gentlemen ! Did you ever hear anything 
like thatf' 

The old man muttered under his breath " If 
only my sister were here ! " and looked helplessly 
at his son. His son looked at the five natives. 
The five natives looked at the Captain The 
Captain looked at nobody : his eyes were cast 
down, and he seemed to be saying softly to 
himself " Contemplate one another, gentlemen, if 
such be your good pleasure. / contemplate 
Myself! " 



" Look here, upon tliis picture, and on this." 

" And what made you choose the first train, 
Goosey ? " said Mad Mathesis, as they got into the 
cab. '' Couldn't you count better than that ? " 

" I took an extreme case," was the tearful reply. 
" Our excellent preceptress always says ' When in 
doubt, my dears, take an extreme case.' And I 
was in doubt." 

" Does it always succeed ? " her aunt enquired. 

Clara sighed. " Not always^' she reluctantly 
admitted. " And I can't make out why. One 
day she Avas telling the little girls — they make 
such a noise at tea, you know — ' The more noise 
you make, the less jam you will have, and vice 
versa.'' And I thought they wouldn't know what 
* vice verstl ' meant : so I explained it to them. 1 

28 A Tangled Tale. 

said ' If you make an infinite noise, you'll get no 
jam : and if you make no noise, you'll get an infi- 
nite lot of jam.' But our excellent preceptress said 
that wasn't a good instance. Why wasn't it ? " she 
added plaintively. 

Her aunt evaded the question. " One sees cer- 
tain objections to it," she said. " But how did you 
work it with the Metropolitan trains ? None of 
them go infinitely fast, I believe." 

" I called them hares and tortoises," Clara said — 
a little timidly, for she dreaded being laughed at. 
" And I thought there couldn't be so many hares as 
tortoises on the Line : so I took an extreme case — 
one hare and an infinite number of tortoises." 

" An extreme case, indeed," her aunt remarked 
with admirable gravity: "and a most dangerous 
state of things ! " 

'' And I thought, if I went with a tortoise, there 
w^ould be only one hare to meet : but if I went 
with the hare — you know there were crowds of 
tortoises ! " 

" It wasn't a bad idea," said the elder lady, as 
they left the cab, at the entrance of Burlington 
House. " You shall have another chance to-day. 
AVe'll liave a match in marking pictures." 


Y. Oughts and Crosses. 29 

Clara briglitened up. " I should like to try 
again, very much," she said. " I'll take more care 
this time. How are we to play '? " 

To this question Mad Mathesis made no reply : 
she w^as busy drawing lines down the margins of 
the catalogue. " See," she said after a minute, 
" I've drawn three columns against the names of the 
pictures in the long room, and I want you to fill 
them with oughts and crosses — crosses for good 
marks and ouohts for bad. The first column is for 


choice of subject, the second for arrangement, the 
third for colouring. And these are the conditions 
of the match. You must give three crosses to two 
or three pictures. You must give two crosses 
to four or ^ve " 

" Do you mean onhj two crosses ? " said Clara. 
" Or may I count the three-cross pictures among 
the two-cross pictures ? " 

^'Of course you may," said her aunt. "Any one, 
that has three eyes, may be said to have Hvo eyes, 
I suppose ? " 

Clara followed her aunt's dreamy gaze across 
the crowded gallery, half-dreading to find that 
there was a three-eyed person in sight. 

" And you must give one cross to nine or ten." 

30 A Tangled Tale. 

'' And which wins the match ? " Clara asked, as 
slie carefully entered these conditions on a blank 
leaf in her catalogue. 

"Whichever marks fewest pictures." 

" But suppose we marked the same number ? '' 

" Then whichever uses most marks." 

Clara considered. " I don't think it's much of a 
match," she said. " I shall mark nine pictures, 
and give three crosses to three of them, two crosses 
to two more, and one cross each to all the rest." 

'' Will you, indeed ? " said her aunt. '' Wait till 
you've heard all the conditions, my impetuous 
child. You must give three ouHits to one or two 
pictures, two oughts to three or. four, and one 
ought to eight or nine. I don't want you to be 
too hard on the E.A.'s." 

Clara quite gasped as she wrote down all these 
fresh conditions. " It's a great deal worse than 
Circulating Decimals ! " she said. " But I'm deter- 
mined to wdn, all the same ! " 

Her aunt smiled grimly. " We can l)egin here,'' 
she said, as they paused before a gigantic picture, 
which the catalogue informed them was the " Por- 
trait of Lieutenant Brown, mounted on his favorite 

V. Oughts and Ceosses. 31 

"He looks awfully conceited ! " said Clara. " I 
don't think he was the elephant's favorite Lieut- 
enant. What a hideous picture it is ! And it 
takes up room enough for twenty ! " 

'' Mind what you say, my dear I " her aunt inter- 
posed. " It's by an E. A. !" 

But Clara was quite reckless. " I don't care who 
it's by!" she cried. "And I shall give it three 
bad marks ! " 

Aunt and niece soon drifted away from each 
other in the crowd, and for the next half-hour 
Clara was hard at work, putting in marks and rub- 
bing them out again, and hunting up and down for 
suitable pictures. This she found the hardest part 
of alL "I ccmt find the one I want!" she ex- 
claimed at last, almost crying with vexation. 

" What is it you want to find, my dear ? " The 
voice was strange to Clara, but so sweet and gentle 
that she felt attracted to the owner of it, even 
before she had seen her ; and when she turned, and 
met the smiling; looks of two little old ladies, 
whose round dimpled faces, exactly alike, seemed 
never to have known a care, it w^as as much as she 
could do — as she confessed to Aunt Mattie after- 
wards — to keep herself from hugging them both. 

32 A Tangled Tale. 

" I was looking for a picture," she said, " that has 
a good subject — and that's well arranged — bui 
badly coloured." 

The little old ladies glanced at each other in 
some alarm. " Calm yourself, my dear," said the 
one who had spoken first, "and try to remember 
which it was. AVhat was the subject ? " 

" AVas it an elephant, for instance ? " the other 
sister suggested. They were still in sight of Lieut- 
enant Brown. 

"I don't know, indeed!" Clara impetuously 
replied. " You know it doesn't matter a bit what 
the subject is, so long as it's a good one ! " 

Once more the sisters exchanged looks of alarm, 
and one of them whispered something to the other, 
of which Clara caught only the one word " mad." 

" They mean Aunt Mattie, of course," she said to 
herself — fancying, in her innocence, that London 
was like her native town, where everybody knew 
everybody else. " If you mean my aunt," she 
added aloud, "she's there — just three pictures 
beyond Lieutenant Brown." 

" Ah, well ! Then you'd better go to her, my 
dear ! " her new friend said, soothingly. " Shell 
find you the picture you want. Good-bye, dear ! " 

V. Oughts and Crosses. 33 

"Good-bye, dear!" echoed the other sister, 
"Miod you don't lose sight of your aunt 1" And 
the pair trotted off into another room, leaving 
Clara rather perplexed at their manner. 

'' They're real darlings ! " she soliloquised. '' I 
wonder why they pity me so ! " And she wandered 
on, murmuring to herself " It must have two good 
marks, and " 



" One piecee thing that my have got, 
Maskee* that thing my no can do. 
You talkee you no sabey what 1 

They landed, and were at once conducted to the 
Palace. About half way they were met by the 
Governor, who welcomed them in English — a great 
relief to our travellers, wdiose guide could speak 
nothing but Kgovjnian. 

" I don't half like the way they grin at us as we 
go by ! " the old man whispered to his son. '' And 
why do they say ' Bamboo ! ' so often ? " 

" It alludes to a local custom," rej^lied the 
Governor, who had overheard the question. "Such 
persons as happen in any way to displease Her 
Eadiancy are usually beaten wdth rods." 

* " Maskee,^' in Pigeon-English, means " without.'^ 


B 2 

36 A Tangled Tale. 

The old man sliuddered. " A most objectional 
local custom ! " he remarked with strong emphasis. 
''I wish we had never landed! Did you notice 
that black fellow, Norman, opening his great mouth 
at us ? I verily believe he would like to eat us ! " 

Norman appealed to the Governor, who was 
walking at his other side. " Do they often eat 
distinguished stranorers here ? " he said, in as 
ind liferent a tone as he could assume. 

" Not often — not ever ! '' was the welcome reply. 
" They are not good for it. Pigs we eat, for they 
are fat. This old man is thin." 

'* And thankful to be so ! " muttered the elder 
traveller. " Beaten we shall be without a doubt. 
It's a comfort to know it won't be Beaten without 
the B ! My dear boy, just look at the peacocks ! " 

They were now walking between two unbroken 
lines of those gorgeous birds, each held in check, 
by means of a golden collar and chain, by a black 
slave, who stood well behind, so as not to interrupt 
the view of the glittering tail, with its network of 
rustling feathers and its hundred eyes. 

The Governor smiled proudly. "In your honour," 
he said, " Her Kadiancy has ordered up ten 
thousand additional |)eacocks. She will, no doubt, 

YI. Her Kadiancy. 87 

decorate you, before you go, with the usual Star 
and Feathers." 

" It'll be Star without the S ! " faltered one of his 

" Come, come ! Don't lose heart ! " said the other. 
" All this is full of charm for me." 

"You are young, Norman," sighed his father; 
" young and light-hearted. For me, it is Charm 
without the C." 

" The old one is sad,'' the Governor remarked 
with some anxiety. " He has, without doubt, 
effected some fearful crime ? " 

" But I haven't ! " the poor old gentleman hastily 
exclaimed. " Tell him I haven't, Norman ! " 

" He has not, as yet," Norman gently explained. 
And the Governor repeated, in a satisfied tone, 
"Not as yet." 

" Yours is a wondrous country!" the Governor 
resumed, after a pause. "Now here is a letter 
from a friend of mine, a merchant, in London. He 
and his brother went there a year ago, with a 
thousand J30unds apiece ; and on New-Year's-da}^ 
they had sixty thousand jDOunds between them ! " 

" How^ did they do it ? " Norman eagerly ex- 
claimed. Even the elder traveller looked excited. 

38 A Tangled Tale. 

The Governor handed him the open letter. "Any- 
body can do it^ when once they know how," so ran 
this oracular document. ''We borrowed nous^ht: 
we stole nought. We began the year with only a 
thousand pounds apiece : and last New- Year's day 
we had sixty thousand pounds between us — sixty 
thousand golden sovereigns ! " 

Norman looked grave and thoughtful as he 
handed back the letter. His father hazarded one 
guess. " Was it by gambling ? " 

"A Kgovjnian never gambles," said the Governor 
gravely, as he ushered them through the palace 
gates. They followed him in silence down a long 
passage, and soon found themselves in a lofty hall, 
lined entirely wdth peacocks' feathers. In the 
centre was a pile of crimson cushions, which almost 
concealed the figure of Her Eadiancy — a plump 
little damsel, in a robe of green satin dotted with 
silver stars, whose pale round face lit up for a 
moment with a half-smile as the travellers bowed 
before her, and then relapsed into the exact ex- 
pression of a wax doll, while she languidly mur- 
mured a word or two in the Kgovjnian dialect. 

The Governor interpreted. '' Her Eadiancy w^el- 
comes you. She notes the Impenetrable Placidity 

VI. Her Radiancy. 39 

of the old one, and the Imperceptible Acuteness 
of the youth." 

Here the little potentate clapped her hands, and 
a troop of slaves instantly appeared, carrying trays 
of coffee and sweetmeats, which they offered to the 
guests, who had, at a signal from the Governor, 
seated themselves on the carpet. 

" Sugar-plums ! " muttered the old man. " One 
might as well be at a confectioner's ! Ask for a 
penny bun, Norman ! " 

" Not so loud ! " his son whis23ered. " Say some- 
thing complimentary ! " For the Governor was 
evidently expecting a speech. 

" We thank Her Exalted Potency," the old man 
timidly began. " We bask in the light of her smile, 
which ^" 

" The words of old men are weak 1" the Governor 
interrupted angrily. " Let the youth speak ! " 

" Tell her," cried Norman, in a wild burst of 
eloquence, " that, like two grassho]3pers in a volcano, 
we are shrivelled up in the presence of Her Spang- 
led Vehemence ! " 

" It is well," said the Governor, and translated 
this into Kgovjnian. " I am now to tell you " he 
proceeded, " what Her Eadiancy requires of you 

40 A Tangled Tale. 

before you go. The yearly competition for the 
post of Imperial Scarf-maker is just ended ; you 
are the judges. You will take account of the 
rate of work, the lightness of the scarves, and their 
warmth. Usually the competitors differ in one 
point only. Thus, last year, Fifi and Gogo made 
the same number of scarves in the trial-week, and 
they were equally light ; but Fifi's were twice as 
warm as Gogo's and she was pronounced twice as 
good. But this year, woe is me, who can judge it ? 
Three competitors are here, and they differ in all 
points ! While you settle their claims, you shall be 
lodged. Her Eadiancy bids me say, free of expense — 
in the best dungeon, and abundantly fed on the 
best bread and water." 

The old man groaned. " All is lost ! " he wdldly 
exclaimed. But Norman heeded him not : he had 
taken out his note-book, and was calmly jotting 
down the particulars. 

" Three they be," the Governor proceeded, *'Lolo, 
Mimi, and Zuzu. Lolo makes 5 scarves while Mimi 
makes 2 ; but Zuzu makes 4 while Lolo makes 3 ! 
Again, so fairylike is Zuzu's handiwork, 5 of her 
scarves weigh no more than one of Lolo's ; yet 
Mimi's is lighter still — 5 of hers will but balance 

VI. Her Eadiancy. 41 

3 of Zuzu's ! And for warmth one of Mimi's is 
equal to 4 of Zuzu's ; yet one of Lolo's is as warm 
as 3 of Mimi's ! " 

Here the little lady once more clapped her 

" It is our signal of dismissal ! " the Governor 
hastily said. " Pay Her Eadiancy your farewell 
compliments — and walk out backwards." 

Tlie walking part was all the elder tourist 
could manage. Norman simply said "Tell Her 
Eadiancy we are transfixed by the spectacle of 
Her Serene Brilliance, and bid an agonized farewell 
to her Condensed Milkiness ! " 

"Her Eadiancy is jDleased," tlie Governor 
reported, after duly translating this. " She casts 
on you a glance from Her Imperial Eyes, and is 
confident that you will catch it ! " 

" That I warrant we shall I " the elder traveller 
moaned to himself distractedly. 

Once more they bowed low, and then followed 
the Governor down a winding staircase to the 
Imperial Dungeon, which they found to be lined 
with coloured marble, lighted from the roof, and 
splendidly though not luxuriously furnished with 
a bench of polished malachite. " I trust you will 

42 A Tangled Tale. 

not delay the calculation," the Governor said, 
ushering them in with much ceremony. " I have 
known great inconvenience — great and serious 
inconvenience — result to those unhappy ones who 
have delayed to execute the commands of Her 
Eadiancy ! And on this occasion she is resolute : 
she says the thing must and shall be done : and 
she has ordered up ten thousand additional bam- 
boos ! " With these words he left them, and they 
heard him lock and bar the door on the outside. 

" I told you how it would end ! " moaned the 
elder traveller, wringing his hands, and quite 
forgetting in his anguish that he had himself 
proposed the expedition, and had never predicted 
anything of the sort. '' Oh that we were well out 
of this miserable business ! " 

" Courage ! " cried the younger cheerily. " Hwc 
olim meminisse jiwahit ! The end of all this will 
be glory ! " 

" Glory without the L ! " was all the poor old 
man could say, as he rocked himself to and fro on 
the malachite bench. *' Glory without the L ! " 


"Base is the slave tliat pays." 

'' Aunt Mattie ! " 

'•' My cliild ? " 

" Would you mind writing it down at once ? I 
shall be quite certain to forget it if you don't ! " 

" My dear, we really must wait till the cab stops. 
How can I possibly write anything in the midst of 
all this jolting?" 

" But really I shall be forgetting it ! " 

Clara's voice took the plaintive tone that her 
aunt never knew how to resist, and with a sigh the 
old lady drew forth her ivory tablets and prepared 
to record the amount that Clara had just spent at 
the confectioner's shop. Her expenditure was 
always made out of her aunt's purse, but the poor 
girl knew, by bitter experience, that sooner or later 

44 A Tangled Tale. 

'' Mad Matliesis" would expect an exact account of 
every penny that had gone, and she waited, with 
ill-concealed impatience, while the old lady turned 
the tablets over and over, till she had found the 
one headed "petty case." 

'' Here's the place," she said at last, " and here 
we have yesterday's luncheon duly entered. One 
glass lemonade (Why can't you drink water, like 
me ?) three sandwiches (They never put in half 
mustard enough. I told the young woman so, to 
her face ; and she tossed her head — like her 
impudence !) and seven biscuits. Total one-and- 
twO'ioence. Well, now for to-day's ? " 

" One glass of lemonade " Clara was begin- 
ning to say, when suddenly the cab drew up, and 
a courteous railway-porter was handing out the 
bewildered girl before she had had time to finish 
her sentence. 

Her aunt pocketed the tablets instantly. " Busi- 
ness first," she said : ^' petty cash — which is a 
form of pleasure, whatever you may think — after- 
wards." And she proceeded to pay the driver, and 
to give voluminous orders about the luggage, quite 
deaf to the entreaties of her unhappy niece that 
she would enter the rest of the luncheon account. 

VII. Petty Cash. 45 

** My dear, you really must cultivate a more 
capacious mind ! " was all the consolation slie 
vouchsafed to the poor girl. " Are not the tablets 
of your memory wide enough to contain the record 
of one single luncheon ? " 

" Not wide enough ! Not half wide enough I " 
was the passionate reply. 

The words came in aptly enough, but the voice 
was not that of Clara, and both ladies turned in 
some surprise to see who it was that had so 
suddenly struck into their conversation. A fat 
little old lady was standing at the door of a cab, 
helping the driver to extricate what seemed an 
exact duplicate of herself: it would have been no 
easy task to decide which was the fatter, or which 
looked the more good-humoured of the two sisters. 

" I tell you the cab-door isn't half wide enough ! " 
she repeated, as her sister finally emerged, some- 
what after the fashion of a pellet from a pop-gun, 
and she turned to appeal to Clara. " Is it, dear ? " 
she said, trying hard to bring a frown into a face 
that dimpled all over with smiles. 

" Some folks is too wide for 'em," growled the 

" Don't provoke me, man ! " cried the little old 


VII. Petty Cash. 47 

lady, in what she meant for a tempest of fury. 
" Say another word and I'll put you into the 
County Court, and sue you for a Habeas Corpus ! " 
The cabman touched his hat, and marched off, 

" Nothing like a little Law to cow the ruffians, 
my dear ! " she remarked confidentially to Clara. 
" You saw how lie quailed when I mentioned the 
Habeas Corjnis f Not that I've any idea what it 
means, but it sounds very grand, doesn't it ? " 

'•' It's very provoking," Clara replied, a little 

'' Very ! " the little old lady eagerly repeated. 
'^ And we're very much provoked indeed, xlren't 
we, sister ? " 

"I never was so provoked in all my life !" the 
fatter sister assented, radiantly. 

By tins time Clara had recognised her picture- 
gallery acquaintances, and, drawing lier aunt aside, 
she hastily whispered lier reminiscences. " I met 
tliem first in tlie Koyal Academy — and they were 
very kind to me — and they were lunching at the 
next table to us, just now, you know — and they 
tried to help me to find the picture I wanted — and 
Tm sure they're dear old thino;s ! " 

48 A Tangled Tale. 

" Friends of yours, are they ? " said Mad 
Matliesis. " Well, I like their looks. You can 
be civil to them, while I get the tickets. But 
do try and arrange your ideas a little more 
chronologically ! " 

ilnd so it came to pass that the four ladies found 
themseli^es seated side by side on the same bench 
waiting for the train, and chatting as if they had 
known one another for years. 

*'Now this I call quite a remarkable coincidence !" 
exclaimed the smaller and more talkative of the 
two sisters — the one whose legal knowledge had 
annihilated the cab-driver. "Not only that we 
should be waiting for the same train, and at the 
same station — that would be curious enourfi — -but 


actually on the same day, and the same hour of the 
day ! That's wdiat strikes me so forcibly ! " She 
glanced at the fritter and more silent sister, 
whose chief function in life seemed to be to 
support the family opinion, and who meekly 
responded — 

" And me too, sister ! " 

" Those are not independent coincidences " 

Mad Mathesis was just beginning, when Clara 
ventured to interpose. 

YII. Petty Cash 49 

" There's no jolting here," slie pleaded meekly. 
" Would you mind writing it down now ? " 

Out came the ivory tablets once more. *' What 
was it, then ? " said her aunt. 

" One glass of lemonade, one sandwich, one 
biscuit — Oh dear me ! " cried poor Clara, the 
historical tone suddenly changing to a wail of 

*' Toothache ? " said her aunt calmly, as she 
wrote down the items. The two sisters instantly 
opened their reticules and produced two different 
remedies for neuralgia, each marked "unequalled." 

"It isn't that!" said poor Clara. "Thank you 
very much. It's only that I cayit remember how 
much I paid ! " 

" Well, try and make it out, then," said her aunt. 
" You've got yesterday's luncheon to help you, 
you know. And here's the luncheon we had the 
day before — the first day we w^ent to that shop— 
one glass lemonade, four sandiuiches, ten bis- 
cuits. Total, one-and-Jivepence.'' She handed the 
tablets to Clara, who gazed at them with eyes so 
dim with tears that she did not at first notice 
that she was holding them upside down. 

The two sisters had been listening to all this 

50 A Tangled Tale. 

with the deepest interest, and at this junc- 
ture the smaller one softly laid her hand on 
Clara's arm. 

" Do you know, my dear," she said coaxingly, 
"my sister and I are in the very same predicament ! 
Quite identically the very same predicament ! 
Aren^t we, sister ? " 

" Quite identically and absolutely the very " 

beo^an the fatter sister, but she was constructing: 
her sentence on too large a scale, and the little one 
would not wait for her to finish it. 

" Yes, my dear," she resumed ; " we were lunch- 
ing at the very same shop as you were — and we 
had two glasses of lemonade and three sandwiches 
and five biscuits — and neither of us has the least 
idea what we paid. Have we, sister ? " 

'' Quite identically and absolutely " mur- 
mured the other, wdio evidently considered that 
she was now a whole sentence in arrears, and that 
she ought to discharge one obligation before con- 
tracting any fresh liabilities ; but the little lady 
broke in again, and she retired from the con- 
versation a bankrupt. 

" Would you make it out for us, my dear ? " 
pleaded the little old lady. 

VII. Petty Cash. 51 

" You can do Arithmetic, I trust ? " her aunt 
said, a little anxiously, as Clara turned from one 
tablet to another, vainly trying to collect her 
thoughts. Her mind was a blank, and all human 
expression was rapidly fading out of her face. 

A gloomy silence ensued. 

E 2 



" This little pig went to market : 
This little pig staid at home." 

" By Her Radiancy's express command," snid the 
Governor, as he conducted the travellers, for 
the last time, from the Imperial presence, " I shall 
now have the ecstasy of escorting you as far as the 
outer gate of the Military Quarter, where the agony 
of parting — if indeed Nature can survive the shock 
— must be endured ! From that gate grurmstipths 
start every quarter of an hour, both ways " 

" Would you mind repeating that word ? " said 
Norman. " Grurm ? " 

" Grurmstipths," the Governor repeated. " You 
call them omnibuses in England. They run both 
ways, and you can travel by one of them all the 
wn}' down to the harbour." 

yill. De Omnibus Eebus. 53 

The old man breathed a sigh of relief ; four 
hours of courtly ceremony had wearied him, and 
he had been in constant terror lest something 
should call into use the ten thousand additional 

In another minute they \Yere crossing a large 
quadrangle, paved with marble, and tastefully 
decorated with a pigsty in each corner. Soldiers, 
carrying pigs, were marching in all directions : 
and in the middle stood a gigantic officer 
giving orders in a voice of thunder, which 
made itself heard above all the uproar of the 

" It is the Commander-in-Chief! " the Governor 
hurriedly whispered to his companions, who at once 
followed his example in prostrating themselves 
before the great man. The Commander gravely 
bowed in return. He was covered with gold lace 
from head to foot : his face wore an expression of 
deep misery : and he had a little black pig under 
each arm. Still the gallant fellow did his best, in 
the midst of the orders he w^as every moment 
issuing to his men, to bid a courteous farewell to 
the departing guests. 

" Farewell, oh old one — carry these three to the 

54 A Taxgled Tale. 

South corner — and farewell to thee, thou young 
one — put this fat one on the top of the others 
in the Western sty — may your shadows never 
be less — woe is me, it is WTongly done ! Empty 
out all the sties, and beofin ag:ain ! " And the 
soldier leant uj)on his sword, and wiped away 
a tear. 

'' He is in distress," the Governor explained as 
they left the court. " Her Eadiancy has com- 
manded him to place twenty-four pigs in those four 
sties, so that, as she goes round the court, she may 
always find the number in each sty nearer to ten 
than the number in the last." 

" Does she call ten nearer to ten than nine is ? ' 
said Norman. 

" Surely," said the Governor. '' Her Eadiancy 
would admit that ten is nearer to ten than nine 
is — and also nearer than eleven is." 

" Then I think it can be done," said Norman. 

The Governor shook his head. " The Commander 
has been transferring them in vain for four 
months," he said. " What hope remains ? And 
Her Eadiancy has ordered up ten thousand 
ad d iti on al ' ' 

^' The pigs don't seem to enjoy being transferred," 

VIII. De Omnibus Eebus. 55 

the old man hastily interrupted. He did not like 
the subject of bamboos. 

*' They are only provisionally transferred, you 
know," said the Governor. " In most cases they 
are immediately carried back again : so they need 
not mind it. And all is done with the greatest 
care, under the personal suj)erintendence of the 

" Of course she would only go once round ? " 
said Norman. 

"Alas, no!" sighed their conductor. '' Eound 
and round. Eound and round. These are Her 
Eadiancy's own words. But oh, agony ! Here is 
the outer gate, and we must part ! " He sobbed as 
he shook hands with them, and the next moment 
was briskly walking away. 

" He might have waited to see us off ! " said the 
old man, piteously. 

" And he needn't have begun whistling the very 
moment he left us ! " said the young one, severely. 
*'But look sharp — here are two what's-his-names in 
the act of starting ! " 

Unluckily, the sea-bound omnibus was full. 
" Never mind ! " said Norman, cheerily. '* We'll 
walk on till the next one overtakes us.' 

56 A Tangled Tale. 

Tliey trudged on in silence, botli tliioking over 
the military problem, till they met an omnibus 
coming from the sea. The elder traveller took 
out 'his watch. *' Just twelve minutes and a half 
since we started," he remarked in an absent 
manner. Suddenly the vacant face brightened ; 
the old man had an idea. " My boy ! " he 
shouted, bringing his hand down upon Norman's 
shoulder so suddenly as for a moment to trans- 
fer his centre of gravity beyond the base of 

Thus taken oflf his guard, the young man 
wildly staggered forwards, and seemed about to 
plunge into space : but in another moment he 
had gracefully recovered himself. ^' Problem in 
Precession and Nutation," he remarked — in 
tones where filial respect only just managed to 
conceal a shade of annoyance. *' What is 
it ? " he hastily added, fearing his father might 
have been taken ilL " Will you have some 
brandy ? " 

" When will the next omnibus overtake us ? 
When ? AYhen '? " the old man cried, growing 
more excited every moment. 

Norman looked gloomy. " Give me time," he 

YIII. De Omnibus Eebus. 57 

said. " I must think it over." And once more 
the travellers passed on in silence — a silence 
only broken by the distant squeals of the 
unfortunate little pigs, who were still being 
provisionally transferred from sty to sty, under 
the personal superintendence of the Commander- 



" Water, water, every where, 
Nor any drop to drink." 

"It'll just take one more pebble." 

" What ever are you doing with those buckets ? " 

The speakers were Hugh and Lambert. Place, 
the beach of Little Mendip. Time, 1.30, p.m. 
Hugh was floating a bucket in another a size 
larger, and trying how many pebbles it woukl 
carry without sinking. Lambert was lying on his 
back, doino; nothing;. 

For the next minute or two Hugh was silent, 
evidently deep in thought. Suddenly he started. 
'' I say, look here, Lambert ! " he cried. 

*' If it's alive, and slimy, and with legs, I don't 
care to," said Lambert. 

" Didn't Balbus say this morning that, if a body 

IX. A Serpent with Corners. 59 

is immersed in liquid, it displaces as much liquid 
as is equal to its own bulk 1 " said Hugli. 

** He said things of that sort, " Lambert vaguely 

'^Well, just look here a minute. Here's the 
little bucket almost quite immersed : so the water 
displaced ought to be just about the same bulk. 
And now just look at it ! " He took out the little 
bucket as he spoke, and handed the big one to 
Lambert. " Why, there's hardly a teacupful ! Do 
you mean to say that water is the same bulk as the 
little bucket ? " 

" Course it is," said Lambert. 

" Well, look here again 1" cried Hugh, triumph- 
antly, as he poured the water from the big bucket 
into the little one. " Why, it doesn't half fill it ! " 

*' That's its business," said Lambert. " If Balbus 
says it's the same bulk, why, it is the same bulk, 
you know." 

" Well, I don't believe it," said Hugh. 

*' You needn't," said Lambert. " Besides, it's 
dinner-time. Come alons^." 

They found Balbus waiting dinner for them, and 
to him Hugh at once propounded his difficulty. 

" Let's get you helped first," said Balbus, briskly 

60 A Tangled Tale. 

cutting away at the joint. *'You know the old 
proverb ' Mutton first, mechanics afterwards ' "? " 

The Loys did not know the j)roverb, but they 
accepted it in perfect good faith, as they did every 
piece of information, however startling, that came 
from so infallible an authority as their tutor. 
They ate on steadily in silence, and, w^hen dinner 
was over, Hugh set out the usual array of pens, 
ink, and paper, while Balbus repeated to them the 
problem he had prepared for their afternoon's task. 

"A friend of mine has a flower-garden — a very 
pretty one, though no great size — " 

" How biof is it ? " said HuQ-h. 

" That's what you have to find out ! " Balbus 
gaily replied. *' All I tell you is that it is oblong 
in shape — ^just half a yard longer than its width — 
and that a gravel-walk, one yard wide, begins at 
one corner and runs all round it." 

"Joining; into itself?" said Huo'h. 

''Not joining into itself, young man. Just 
before doing that, it turns a corner, and runs round 
the garden again, alongside of the first portion, and 
then inside that again, winding in and in, and each 
lap touching the last one, till it has used uj) the 
whole of the area. " 

IX. A Serpext with Corxefs. 61 

'' Like a serpent with corners ? " said Lambert. 

" Exactly so. And if you walk the whole length 
of it, to the last inch, keeping in the centre of the 
path, it's exactly two miles and half a furlong. 
Now, while you find out the length and breadth of 
the garden, I'll see if I can think out that sea-water 

" You said it was a flower-o\nrden ? " HuQ;h 
inquired, as Balbus was leaving the room. 

'' I did," said Balbus. 

" Where do the flow^ers grow ? " said Hugh. But 
Balbus thought it best not to hear the question. 
He left the boys to their problem, and, in the 
silence of his own room, set himself to unravel 
Hugh's mechanical paradox. 

'' To fix our thoughts," he murmured to himself, 
as, w^ith hands deep-buried in his pockets, he paced 
up and dow^n the room, '' we will take a cylindrical 
glass jar, with a scale of inches marked up the side, 
and fill it w^ith water up to the 10-inch mark : and 
w^e will assume that every inch depth of jar 
contains a pint of water. We will now^ take a solid 
cylinder, such that every inch of it is equal in bulk 
to half a pint of water, and plunge 4 inches of it 
into the w^ater, so that the end of the cylinder 

62 A Tangled Tale. 

comes down to the 6 -inch mark. Well, that dis- 
places 2 pints of water. What becomes of them ? 
AVhy, if there were no more cylinder, they would 
lie comfortably on the top, and fill the jar up to 
the 12-inch mark. But unfortunately there is more 
cylinder, occupying half the space between the 
10-incli and the 12-inch marks, so that only one 
pint of water can be accommodated there. AVhat 
becomes of the other pint ? Why, if there were no 
more cylinder, it would lie on the top, and fill the 
jar up to the 13-incli mark. But unfortunately 

Shade of Newton ! " he exclaimed, in sudden 

accents of terror. " When does the water stop 
rismg ^ 

A bright idea struck him. " I'll write a little 
essay on it," he said. 

Balhiiss Essay. 

" When a solid is immersed in a liquid, it is well 
known that it displaces a portion of the liquid 
equal to itself in bulk, and that the level of the 
liquid rises just so much as it would rise if a 
quantity of liquid had been added to it, equal in 

IX. A Serpext with Corxers. 63 

bulk to the solid. Larclner says, precisely the same 
process occurs when a solid is partially immersed : 
the Cjuantity of liquid displaced, in this case, 
equalling the portion of the solid which is immersed, 
and the rise of the level being in proportion. 

" Suppose a solid held above the surface of a 

liquid and partially immersed : a portion of the 

liquid is displaced, and the level of the liquid rises. 

But, by this rise of level, a little bit more of the 

solid is of course immersed, and so there is a new 

displacement of a second portion of the liquid, and 

a consequent rise of level. Again, this second rise 

of level causes a yet further immersion, and by 

consequence another displacement of liquid and 

another rise. It is self-evident that this process 

must continue till the entire solid is immersed, and 

tliat the liquid will then begin to immerse whatever 

holds the solid, which, being connected with it, 

must for the time be considered a part of it. If 

you hold a stick, six feet long, with its end in a 

tumbler of water, and wait long enough, you must 

eventually be immersed. The question as to the 

source from which the water is supj)lied — which 

belono's to a his^h branch of mathematics, and is 

therefore beyond our present scope — does not apply 

(54 A Tangled Tale. 

to the sea. Let us therefore take the familiar 
instance of a man standino; at the edo;e of the sea, 
at ebb-tide, with a solid in his hand, which he 
partially immerses : he remains steadfast and 
unmoved, and we all know that he must be 
drowned. The multitudes who daily perish in this 
manner to attest a philosophical truth, and whose 
bodies the unreasoning wave casts sullenly upon 
our thankless shores, have a truer claim to be called 
the martyrs of science than a Galileo or a Kepler. 
To use Kossuth's eloquent phrase, they are the 
unnamed demigods of the nineteenth century." * 

" There's a fallacy somewhere^' he murmured 
drowsily, as he stretched his long legs upon the 
sofa. " I must think it over again." He closed 
his eyes, in order to concentrate his attention more 
perfectly, and for the next hour or so his slow and 
regular breathing bore witness to the careful delil)- 
eration with which he was investie^atino; this new 
and perplexing view of the subject. 

* Note hy the irr'iter. — For the above Essay I am indebted to a 
dear friend, now deceased. 

"he remains steadfast and unmoved."' 



" Yea, buns, and buns, and buns I " 

Old Song. 

"How very, very sad!" exclaimed Clara; and 
the eyes of the gentle girl filled with tears as she 

'• Sad — but very curious when you come to look 
at it arithmetically," was her aunt's less romantic 
reply. " Some of them have lost an arm in their 
country's service, some a leg, some. an ear, some an 
eye " 

"And some, perhaps, all f Clara murmured 
dreamily, as they passed the long rows of 
weather-beaten heroes basking in the sun. "Did 
you notice that very old one, with a red face, who 
was drawing a map in the dust with his wooden 

X. Chelsea Buns. 67 

leg, and all tlie others watching ? I tliinh it was 
a plan of a battle " 

" The battle of Trafalgar, no donbt," her aunt 
interrupted, briskly. 

''Hardly that, I think," Clara ventured to say. 
" You see, in that case, he couldn't well be 
alive " 

" Couldn't well be alive 1 " the old lady con- 
temptuously repeated. " He's as lively as you 
and me put together ! Why, if drawing a map 
in the dust — with one's wooden leg — doesn't prove 
one to be alive, perhaps you'll kindly mention 
what does prove it ! " 

Clara did not see her way out of it. Logic had 
never been \\qy forte, 

" To return to the arithmetic," Mad Mathesis 
resumed — the eccentric old lady never let slip an 
opportunity of driving her niece into a calculation 
— ''what percentage do you suppose must have 
lost all four — a leg, an arm, an eye, and an ear ? " 

" How can I tell '? " gasped the terrified girl. 
She knew well what was comino-. 

" You can't, of course, without data,'' her aunt 
replied : "but I'm just going to give you " 

" Give lier a Chelsea bun. Miss ! That's what 

F 2 

68 A Tangled Tale. 

most young ladies likes best ! " The voice was 
rich and musical, and the speaker dexterously 
whipped back the snowy cloth that covered his 
l)asket, and disclosed a tempting array of the 
familiar square buns, joined together in rows, 
richly egged and browned, and glistening in the 

" No, sir ! I shall give her nothing so indigest- 
ible ! Be off ; " The old lady waved her parasol 
threateningly : but nothing seemed to disturb the 
good-humour of the jolly old man, who marched 
on, chantinof his melodious refrain : — 


Chel - sea buns I Chel - sea buns hot! Chel - sea buns! 



Pi - ping hot! Chel - sea buns hot! Chel - sea buns! 

" Far too indigestible, my love ! " said the old 
lady. '' Percentages will agree with you ever so 
much Better ! " 

Clara sighed, and there was a hungry look in her 
eyes as she watched the basket lessening in the 
distance : but she meekly listened to the relentless 

X. Chelsea Buns. 69 

old lady, who at once proceeded to count oft' the 
data on her fingers. 

" Say that 70 per cent, have lost an eye — 75 per 
cent, an ear — 80 per cent, an arm — 85 per cent, 
a leg — that'll do it beautifully. Now, my dear, 
what percentage, at least, must have lost all four ?" 

No more conversation occurred — unless a smoth- 
ered exclamation of " Piping hot ! " which escaped 
from Clara's lips as the basket vanished round a 
corner could be counted as such — until they 
reached the old Chelsea mansion, where Clara's 
father was then staying, with his three sons and 
their old tutor. 

Balbus, Lambert, and Hugh had entered the 
house only a few minutes before them. They had 
been out walking, and Hugh had been propounding 
a difiiculty which had reduced Lambert to the 
depths of gloom, and had even puzzled Balbus. 

'' It changes from Wednesday to Thursday at 
midnio'ht, doesn't it ? " Huo-li had beo;un. 

'' Sometimes," said Balbus, cautiously. 

" Always," said Lambert, decisively. 

'^ Sometimes,^' Balbus gently insisted. '' Six 
midnights out of seven, it changes to some other 

70 A Tangled Tale. 

'•' I meant, of course/' Hugh corrected himself, 
" when it does change from Wednesday to Thurs- 
day, it does it at midnight — and only at midnight." 
" Surely," said Balbus. Lambert was silent. 
" Well, now, suppose it's midnight here in 
Chelsea. Then it's AVednesday 'west of Chelsea 
(say in Ireland or America) where midnight hasn't 
arrived yet : and it's Thursday east of Chelsea (say 
in Grermany or Eussia) where midnight has just 
passed by ? " 

" Surely," Balbus said again. Even Lambert 
nodded this time. 

" But it isn't midnight anywhere else ; so it can't 
be changing from one day to another anywhere 
else. And yet, if Ireland and America and so on 
call it Wednesday, and Germany and Russia and 
so on call it Thursday, there must be some jDlace 
■ — not Chelsea — that has different days on the two 
sides of it. And the worst of it is, the people there 
get their days in the wrong order : they've got 
Wednesday east of them, and Thursday ivest — just 
as if their day had changed from Thursday to 
Wednesday ! " 

" I've heard that puzzle before ! " cried Lambert. 
'' And I'll tell you the explanation. When a ship 

X. Chelsea Buns. 71 

goes round the world from east to west, we know 
that it loses a day in its reckonincr : so that when 
it gets home, and calls its day Wednesday, it finds 
people here calling it Thursday, because we've had 
one more midnight than the ship has had. And 
when you go the other way round you gain a day." 

" I know all that," said Hugh, in reply to this 
not very lucid explanation : " but it doesn't help 
me, because the ship hasn't proper days. One way 
round, you get more than twenty-four hours to the 
day, and the other way you get less : so of course 
the names get wrong : but people that live on in 
one place always get twenty-four hours to the day." 

" I suppose there is such a place," Balbus said, 
meditatively, " though I never heard of it. And 
the people must find it very queer, as Hugh says, 
to have the old day east of them, and the new one 
ivest : because, when midnight comes round to 
them, with the new day in front of it and the old 
one behind it, one doesn't see exactly what 
happens. I must think it over." 

So they had entered the house in the state 
I have described^ — Balbus puzzled, and Lambert 
buried in gloomy thought. 

" Yes, m'm, Master is at home, m'm," said the 

72 A Tangled Tale. 

stately old butler, (N.B. — It is oiih^ a butler of 
experience who can manage a series of three M's 
together, without any interjacent vowels.) "And 
the ole party is a-waiting for you in the libery." 

" I don't like his calling your father an old 
party," Mad Mathesis whispered to her niece, as 
they crossed the hall. And Clara had only just 
time to whisper in reply " he meant the ivhole 
party," before they were ushered into the library, 
and the sight of the five solemn faces there 
assembled chilled her into silence. 

Her father sat at the head of the table, and 
mutely signed to the ladies to take the two 
vacant chairs, one on each side of him. His three 
sons and Balbus completed the party. Writing 
materials had been arranged round the table, after 
the fashion of a ghostly banquet : the butler had 
evidently bestowed much thought on the grim 
device. Sheets of quarto paper, each flanked by 
a pen on one side and a pencil on the other, 
represented the plates — penwipers did duty for 
rolls of bread — while ink-bottles stood in the places 
usually occupied by wine-glasses. The pierce de 
resistance was a large green baize bag, which gave 
forth, as the old man restlessly lifted it from side 

X. Chelsea Buns. 73 

to side, a charming jingle, as of innumerable golden 


" Sister, daughter, sons — and Balbus — ," the old 
man began, so nervously, that Balbus put in a 
gentle " Hear, hear ! " while Hucrh drummed on 
the table with his fists. This disconcerted the 
unpractised orator. '' Sister — " he began again, 
then paused a moment, moved the bag to the other 
side, and went on with a rush, " I mean — this 
being — a critical occasion — more or less — being the 
year when one of my sons comes of age — " he 
paused again in some confusion, having evidently 
got into the middle of his speech sooner than he 
intended : but it was too late to go back. " Hear, 
hear ! " cried Balbus. " Quite so," said the old 
gentleman, recovering his self-possession a little : 
" when first I began this annual custom — my 
friend Balbus will correct me if I am wrong — " 
(Hugh whispered " with a strap ! " but nobody 
heard him except Lambert, who only frowned and 
shook his head at him) " — this annual custom of 
giving each of my sons as many guineas as would 
represent his age — it was a critical time — so 
Balbus informed me — as the ages of two of 
you were together equal to that of the third — 

74 A Tangled Tale. 

so on that occasion I made a speech '' He 

paused so long that Balbus thought it w(dl to come 

to the rescue with the words " It was a most '" 

i)ut the okl man checked him with a warning 


look : " yes, made a speech," he repeated. " A 
few years after that, Balbus pointed out — I say 
pointed out — " (" Hear, hear '' ! cried Balbus. 
" Quite so," said the grateful old man.) " — that it 
was another critical occasion. The ao-es of two of 
you were together double that of the third. So I 
made another speech — another speech. And now 
again it's a critical occasion — so Balbus says — and 

I am making " (Here Mad Mathesis j)ointedly 

referred to her watch) *' all the haste 1 can ! " the 
old man cried, with wonderful j^resence of mind. 
" Indeed, sister, I'm coming to the point now ! 
The number of years that have passed since that 
first occasion is just two-thirds of the number of 
guineas I then gave you. Now, my boys, calculate 
your ages from the data, and you shall have the 
money ! " 

" But we hioio our ages ! " cried Hugh. 

"Silence, sir!" thundered the old man, rising 
to his full height (he was exactly five-foot five) in 
his indignation. " I say you must use the data 

X. Chelsea Buns. 75 

only ! You mustn't even assume ivhich it is that 
comes of age ! " He clutehed the bag as he spoke, 
and with tottering steps (it was about as much as 
he could do to cany it) he left the room. 

"And you shall have a similar cadeau,'' the 
old lady whispered to her niece, " when you've 
calculated that j^ercentage ! " And she followed 
her brother. 

Nothing could exceed the solemnity with which 
the old couple had risen from the table, and yet 
was it — was it a grin with which the father turned 
away from his unhappy sons ? Could it be — 
could it be a luinJc with which the aunt abandoned 
her despairing niece ? And were those — were 
those sounds of suppressed chucJding which floated 
into the room, just before Balbus (who had 
followed them out) closed the door '? Surely not : 
and yet the butler told the cook — but no, that was 
merely idle gossip, and I will not repeat it. 

The shades of evening granted their unuttered 
petition, and ''closed not o'er" them (for the butler 
brought in the lamp) : the same obliging shades 
left them a '' lonely bark " (the wail of a dog, in 
the back-yard, baying the moon) for " awhile " : 
but neither " morn, alas," (nor any other epoch) 

76 A Tangled Tale. 

seemed likely to " restore " tliem — to that peace of 
mind which had once been theirs ere ever these 
problems had swooped upon them, and crushed 
them w^ith a load of unfathomable mystery ! 

"It's hardly fair," muttered Hugh/' to give us 
such a jumble as this to work out ! " 

" Fair ? " Clara echoed, bitterly. '' Well ! " 
And to all my readers I can but repeat the last 
words of orentlc Clara — 

fare-to ell 1 


' Oh, do let me help to undo it ! 


FroUem. — "Two travellers spend from 3 o'clock till 
in walking along a level road, up a hill, and home again : 
their pace on the level being 4 miles an hour, up hill 3, 
and down hill 6. Find distance walked : also (within 
half an hour) time of reaching top of hill." 

Ansivcr. — " 24 miles : half-past 6." 

Sohition. — A level mile takes j of an hour, up hill J, 
down hill }. Hence to go and return over the same mile, 
whether on the level or on the hill-side, takes ^ an hour. 
Hence in 6 hours they went 12 miles out and 12 back. 
If the 12 miles out had been nearly all level, they would 
have taken a little over 3 hours ; if nearly all up hill, a 
little under 4. Hence 3^ hours must be within I an hour 
of the time taken in reaching the peak ; thus, as they 
started at 3, they got there within i an hour of h past 6. 

78 Appendix. 

Twenty-seven answers have come in. Of these, 9 are 
right, 16 partially right, and 2 wrong. The IG give the 
distance correctly, but they have failed to grasp the 
fact that the top of the hill might have been reached 
at any moment between 6 o'clock and 7. 

The two wrong answers are from Gerty Yernon and 
A Nihilist. The former makes the distance " 23 miles," 
while her revolutionary companion puts it at "27." 
Gerty Vernon says " they had to go 4 miles along the 
plain, and got to the foot of the hill at 4 o'clock." 
They miglit have done so, I grant ; but you have no 
ground for saying they did so. " It was 7^ miles to 
the top of the hill, and they reached that at \ before 
7 o'clock." Here you go wrong in your arithmetic, and 
I must, however reluctantly, bid you farewell. 7i miles, 
at 3 miles an hour, would not require 2| hours. A 
Nihilist says " Let x denote the whole number of miles ; 
y the number of hours to hill-top ; .*. 3.^ = number of 
miles to hill-top, and x—^y = number of miles on the 
other side." You bewilder me. The other side of icliat ? 
" Of the hill," you say. But then, how did they get 
home again ? However, to accommodate your views 
we will build a new hostelry at the foot of the hill on 
the oi^posite side, and also assume (what I grant you 
is possible, though it is not necessarily true) that there 
was nu level road at all. Even then vou oo wrono-. 

You say 

Answers to Knot L 79 

v = ^ TT^' (0 ; 

^=^ (ii)." 

I grant you (i), but I deny (ii) : it rests on the assumption 
that to go 'part of the time at 3 miles an hour, and 
the rest at 6 miles an hour, comes to the same result 
as going the lolioh time at 4^ miles an hour. But this 
would only be true if the ''part " were an exact half, 
i.e., if they went up hill for 3 hours, and down hill for 
the other 3 : which they certainly did not do. 

The sixteen, who are partially right, are Agxes Bailey, 
F. K, FiFEE, G. E. B., H. P., Kit, M. E. T., Myste, A 
Mother's Son, Nairam, A Redruthian, A Socialist, 
Spear Maidex, T. B. C, Yis Inertle, and Yak. Of 
these, F. K., Fifee, T. B. C, and Yis Inertle do not 
attempt the second part at all. F. K. and H. P. give no 
w^orking. The rest make particular assumptions, such as 
that there was no level road — that there were 6 miles of 
level road — and so on, all leading to particidar times 
being fixed for reaching the hill-top. The most curious 
assumption is that of Agnes Bailey, v/ho says " Let 

^; = number of hours occupied in ascent; then - = hours 

occupied in descent ; and - ^ = hours occupied on the 

80 Appendix. 

level." I suppose you were tliinkiug of the relati\'e rates, 
up hill and on the level ; which we might express by 
saying that, if they went x miles up hill in a certain 

4 X 
time, they would go - " miles on the level in the same 

time. You have, in fact, assumed that they took the 
same time on the level that they took in ascending the 
hill. FiFEE assumes that, when the ac^ed knight said 
they had gone "four miles in the hour" on the level, 
he meant that four miles was the distance gone, not 
merely the rate. This would have been— if Fifee will 
excuse the slang expression — a " sell," ill-suited to the 
dignity of the hero. 

And now " descend, ye classic Nine ! " who have solved 
the whole problem, and let me sing your praises. Your 
names are Blithe, E. W., L. B., A Maelborough Boy, 
O. V. L., Putney WalkeR; Rose, Sea Breeze, Simple 
Susan, and Money Spinner. (These last two I count 
as one, as they send a joint answer.) Rose and Simple 
Susan and Co. do not actually stace that the hill-top was 
reached some time between 6 and 7, but, as they have 
clearly grasped the fact that a mile, ascended and de- 
scended, took the same time as two level miles, I mark 
them as ''right." A Marlborough Boy and Putney 
Walker deserve honourable mention for their alge- 
braical solutions, being the only two who have perceived 

Answers to Knot I. 81 

that tlie question leads to an indeterminate equation. 
E. W. brings a charge of untruthfulness against the aged 
knight — a serious charge, for he was the very pink of 
chivalry! She says "According to the data given, the 
time at the summit affords no clue to the total distance. 
It does not enable us to state precisely to an inch how 
much level and how much hill there was on the road." 
" Fair damsel," the aged knight replies, " — if, as I surmise, 
thy initials denote Early Womanhood — bethink thee that 
the word ' enable ' is thine, not mine. I did but ask the 
time of reaching the hill-top as my condition for further 
parley. If noio thou wilt not grant that I am a truth- 
loving man, then will I affirm that those same initials 
denote Envenomed Wickedness ! " 


A Marlboeough Boy. Putney Walkee. 

Blithe. Rose. 

E. W. Sea Beeeze. 

L. B. ( Simple Susan. 

0. y. L. I Money-Spinnee. 


82 Appendix. 

Blithe has made so ingenious an addition to the 
problem, and Simple Susax and Co. have solved it in 
such tuneful verse, that I record both their auswers in 
fall. I have altered a word or two in Blithe's — which 
I trust she will excuse ; it did not seem quite clear as 
it stood. 

" Yet stay," said the youth, as a gleam of inspiration 
lighted up the relaxing muscles of his quiescent features. 
"Stay. Methinks it matters little lulicn we reached that 
summit, the crown of our toil. For in the space of 
time wherein we clambered up one mile and bounded 
down the same on our return, we could have trudged 
the twain on the level. We have plodded, then, 
four-and-twenty miles in these six mortal hours; for 
never a moment did we stop for catching of fleeting 
breath or for gazing on the scene around ! " 

" Very good," said the old man. " Twelve miles out 
and twelve miles in. And we reached the top some 
time between six and seven of the clock. Now mark 
me ! For every five minutes that had fled since six 
of the clock when we stood on yonder peak, so many 
miles had we toiled upwards on the dreary mountain- 
side ! " 

The youth moaned and rushed into the hostel. 


Answers to Knot I. 83 

The elder and tlie younger kniglit, 

They sallied forth at three ; 
How far they went on level ground 

It matters not to me ; 
What time they reached the foot of hill, 

When they began to mount, 
Are problems which I hold to be 

Of very small account. 

The moment that each waved his hat 

Upon the topmost peak — ■ 
To trivial query such as this 

No answer will I seek. 
Yet can I tell the distance well 

They must have travelled o'er : 
On hill and plain, 'twixt three and nine. 

The miles were twenty-four. 

Four miles an hour their steady pace 

Along the level track, 
Three when they climbed — but six when they 

Came swiftly striding back 
Adown the hill ; and little skill 

It needs, methinks, to show. 
Up hill and down together told, 

Four miles an hour they go. 

For whether long or short the time 

Upon the hill they spent, 
Two thirds were passed in going up. 

One third in the descent. 
Two thirds at three, one third at six. 

If rightly reckoned o'er. 
Will make one whole at four — the tale 
Is tangled now no more. 

Simple Susax, 
MoxEY Spinner. 
G 2 



§ 1. The Dinner Party. 

Frohlem. — " The Governor of Kgovjni wants to give a 
very small dinner party, and invites his father's brother- 
in-law, his brother's father-in-law, his father-in-law's 
brother, and his brother-in-law's father. Find the 
number of guests." 

Ansiuer. — ''' One." 

A = a 

In this genealogy, males 
are denoted by capitals, and 
females by small letters. 

The Governor is E and 
his guest is 0. 


D = d 

e = E 

Ten answers have been received. Of these, one is 
wrong, Galanthus Nivalis Major, who insists on in- 
viting two guests, one being the Governor's wifes hrotlurs 
faiher. If she had taken his sister s lucsland' s father instead, 
she would have found it possible to reduce the guests 
to one. 

Answers to Knot II. 85 

Of the nine who send right answers, Sea-Breeze is 
the very faintest breath that ever bore the name ! She 
simply states that the Governor's uncle might fulfill all 
the conditions " by intermarriages " I " Wind of the 
western sea," you have had a very narrow escape I Be 
thankful to appear in the Class-list at all ! Bog-Oak 
and Bradshaw of the Future use genealogies which 
require 16 people instead of 14, by inviting the Governor's 
father s sisters husband instead oi\i\?> father s vyifes brother. 
I cannot think this so good a solution as one that requires 
only 14. Caius and Valentine deserve special mention 
as the only two who have supplied genealogies. 




M. M. Old Cat. 


Matthew Matticks. Valentine. 



Bradshaw of the Future. 



86 Appendix. 

jij 2. The Lodgings. 

Prollem. — "A Square has 20 doors on each side, which 
contains 21 equal parts. They are numbered all round, 
beginninsf at one corner. From which of the four, Nos. 9, 
25, 52, 73, is the sum of the distances, to the other three, 
least ? " 

Answer. — "From No. 9." 


Let A be No. 9, B No. 25, C 
No. 52, and D No. 78. 

Then AB = \/(122 -f 5^) = \/r69 = 13 ; ^A_ 

AC = 21_; 1^9 • 12 5i 

(N.B.t;.^. ''between 12 and 13.") 
BC = V(16^+ 12^) = V4U0 - 20 ; ^\ _ ^^ 

BD = V("32+212) = V450 = 21+ ; ^~q 

CD = ^"^92+ 13-) = v/250 = 15+ ; 

Hence sum of distances from A is between 46 and 47 ; 
from B, between 54 and 55 ; from C, betw^een 56 and 57 ; 
from D, between 48 and 51. (Why not " between 48 and 
49 " ? Make this out for yourselves.) Hence the sum is 
least for A. 

Answers to Knot II. 87 

Twenty-five solutions have been received. Of these, 
15 must be marked "0," 5 are partly right, and 5 right. 
Of the 15, I may dismiss Alphabetical Phantom, Bog- 
Oak, Dinah Mite, Fifee, Galanthus Nivalis Major (I 
fear the cold spring has blighted our Snowdrop), Guy, 
H.M.S. Pinafore, Janet, and Valentine with the simple 
remark that they insist on the unfortunate lodgers keeimuj 
to the pavement. (I used the words " crossed to Number 
Seventy-three " for the special purpose of showing that 
sJiort cuts were possible.) Sea-Breeze does the same, and 
adds that " the result would be the same " even if they 
crossed the Square, but gives no proof of this, M. M. 
draws a diagram, and says that No. 9 is the house, " as the 
diagram shows." I cannot see lioiv it does so. Old Cat 
assumes that the house must be No. 9 or No. 73. She 
does not explain how she estimates the distances. Bee's 
Arithmetic is faulty : she makes Vl(i9 + V442 -f- 
Vl30 = 741. (I suppose you mean V741, which would 
be a little nearer the truth. But roots cannot be added 
in this manner. Do you think V9 4 Vl6 is 25, or even 
V25 ?) But Ayr's state is more perilous still : she 
draws illogical conclusions with a frightful calmness. 
After pointing out (rightly) that AC is less than BD 
she says, "therefore the nearest house to the other three 
must be A or C." And again, after pointing out (rightly) 
that B and D are both within the half-square containing 

88 Appendix. 

A, she says "therefore" AB + AD must be less than 
BC -f CD. (There is no logical force in either " therefore." 
For the first, try Nos. 1, 21, 60, 70 : this will make your 
premiss true, and your conclusion false. Similarly, for 
the second, try Nos. 1, 30, 51, 71.) 

Of the five partly-right solutions, Rags AND Tatters 
and Mad Hatter (who send one answer between them) 
make Ko. 25 6 units from the corner instead of 5. 
Cheam, E. R. D. L., and Meggy Potts leave openings at 
the corners of the Square, which are not in the data : 
moreover Cheam gives values for the distances without 
any hint that they are only approximations. Crophi AND 
MoPHi make the bold and unfounded assumption that 
there were really 21 houses on each side, instead of 20 as 
stated by Balbus. "We may assume," they add, "that 
the doors of Nos. 21, 42, 63, 84, are invisible from the 
centre of the Square " ! What is there, I wonder, that 
Crophi and Mophi would not assume ? 

Of the five who are wholly right, 1 think Bradshaw 
OF the Future, Caius, Clifton C, and Martreb 
deserve special praise for their full analytical solutions. 
Matthew Matticks picks out No. 9, and proves it to be 
the right house in two ways, very neatly and ingeniously, 
but luhy he picks it out does not appear. It is an 
excellent synthetical proof, but lacks the analysis which 
the other four supply. 

Answers to Kxot II. 89 



Bradshaw of the Future Clifton C. 

Caius. Martreb. 

Matthew Matticks. 


Cheam. Meggy Potts. 

Crophi and Mophi. rRAGS and Tatters. 

E. R. D. L. 1 Mad Hatter. 

A remonstrance has reached me from Scrutator on 
the subject of Knot L, which he declares was "no 
problem at all." " Two questions/' he says, " are put. 
To solve one there is no data : the other answers itself." 
As to the first point, Scrutator is mistaken ; there are 
(not "is") data sufficient to answer the question. As 
to the other, it is interesting to know that the question 
"answers itself," and I am sure it does the question 
great credit : still I fear I cannot enter it on tlie list 
of winners, as this competition is only open to human 

90 Appexdix. 


Prolkm. — (1) "Two travellers, starting at the same 
time, went opposite ways round a circular railway. 
Trains start each way every 15 minutes, the easterly 
ones going round in 3 hours, the westerly in 2. How 
many trains did each meet on the way, not counting 
trains met at the terminus itself?" (2) ''They went 
round, as before, each traveller countino: as 'one' the 
train containing the other traveller. How many did 
each meet ? " 

Answers. — (1) 19. (2) The easterly traveller met 12 ; 
the other 8. 

The trains one way took 180 miuutes, the other way 
120. Let us take the L. C. M., 860, and divide the 
railway into SCO units. Then one set of trains went 
at the rate of 2 units a minute and at intervals of 30 
units; the other at the rate of 3 units a minute and 
at intervals of 45 units. An easterly train starting has 
45 units between it and the first train it will meet : it 
docs 2-5ths of this while the other does 3— 5ths, and 

Answers to Knot III. 91 

tlius meets it at the end of 18 units, and so all the 
way round. A westerly train starting has 30 units 
between it and the first train it w^ill meet: it does 
3— oths of this while the other does 2-5ths, and thus 
meets it at the end of 18 units, and so all the Avay 
round. Hence if the railway be divided, by 19 posts, 
into 20 parts, each containing 18 units, trains meet 
at every post, and, in (1), each traveller passes 19 
posts in going round, and so meets 19 trains. But, in 
(2), the easterly traveller only begins to count after 
traversing 2— 5ths of the journey, i.e., on reaching the 
8th post, and so counts 12 posts: similarly the other 
counts 8. They meet at the end of 2-5ths of 3 hours. 

Forty-five answers have been received. Of these 12 
are beyond the reach of discussion, as they give no 
w^orking. I can but enumerate their names. Ardmore, 
E. A., F. A. D., L. D., Matthew Matticks, M. E. T., 
Poo-Poo, and The Red Queen are all wrong. Beta 
and RowENA have got (1) right and (2) wrong. 
Cheeky Bob and Nairam give the right answers, but 
it may perhajDs make the one less cheeky, and induce 
the other to take a less inverted view of things, to be 
informed that, if this had been a competition for a 

92 Appendix. 

prize, they would have got no marks. [N.B. — I have 
not ventured to put E. A.'s name in full, as she only 
gave it provisionally, in case her answer should prove 

Of the 33 answers for which the working is given, 
10 are wrong; 11 half- wrong and half-right; 3 right, 
except that they cherish the delusion that it was Clara 
who travelled in the easterly train — a point which the 
data do not enable us to settle ; and 9 wholly right. 

The 10 wronf( answers are from Bo-Peep, Finan- 
ciER, I. W. T., Kate B., M. A. H., Q. Y. Z., Sea-Gull, 
Thistledown, Tom-Quad, and an unsigned one. Bo- 
Peep rightly says that the easterly traveller met all 
trains which started during the 3 hours of her trip, as 
well as all which started during the previous 2 hours, 
i.e.y all which started at the commencements of 20 
periods of 15 minutes each; and she is right in striking 
out the one she met at the moment of starting; but 
wrong in striking out the last train, for she did not 
meet this at the terminus, but 15 minutes before she 
got there. She makes the same mistake in (2). 
Financier thinks that any train, met for the second 
time, is not to be counted. I. W. T. finds, by a process 
which is not stated, that the travellers met at the 
end of 71 minutes and 26 J seconds.. Kate B. thinks 
the trains which are met on starting and on arriving 

Answers to Kxot III. 93 

are never to be counted, even when met elsewhere. 
Q. Y. Z. tries a rather complex algebraical solution, 
and succeeds in finding the time of meeting correctly : 
al] else is wrong. Sea-Gull seems to think that, 
in (1), the easterly train stood still for 8 hours ; 
and says that, in (2), the travellers met at the end 
of 71 minutes 40 seconds. Thistledown nobly confesses 
to having tried no calculation, but merely having drawn 
a picture of the railway and counted the trains; in (1), 
she counts wrong; in (2) she makes them meet in 75 
minutes. Tom-Quad omits (1) : in (2) he makes Clara 
count the train she met on her arrival. The unsigned 


one is also unintelligible; it states that the travellers 
go " 1— 24th more than the total distance to be 
traversed " ! The " Clara " theory, already referred to, 
is adopted by 5 of these, viz., Bo-Peep, Financier, 
Kate B., Tom-Quad, and the nameless writer. 

The 11 half-right answers are from Bog-Oak, Bridget, 
Castor, Cheshire Cat, G. E. B., Guy, Mary, M. A. H., 
Old Maid, E. W., and Vendredi. All these adopt 
the '' Clara" theory. Castor omits (1). Vendredi 
gets (1) right, but in (2) makes the same mistake as 
Bo-Peep. I notice in your solution a marvellous 
proportion-sum : — " 300 miles : 2 hours : : one mile : 24 
seconds." May I venture to advise your acquiring, as soon 
as possible, an utter disbelief in the possibility of a ratio 

94 Appendix. 

existiDg between miles and hours? Do not be dis- 
heartened by your two friends' sarcastic remarks on your 
"roundabout ways." Their short method, of adding 12 
and 8, has the sHcrht disadvantaoe of brincfinsf the answer 
wrono; : even a "roundabout" method is better than that ! 
M. A. H., in (2), makes the travellers count " one " after 
they met, not v:>hen they met. Cheshire Cat and Old 
Maid get '' 20 " as answer for (1), by forgetting to strike 
out the train met on arrival. The others all get " 18 " in 
various ways. Bog-Oak, Guy, and R. W. divide the trains 
which the westerly traveller has to meet into 2 sets, viz., 
those already on the line, which they (rightly) make " 11," 
and those which started during her 2 hours' journey (ex- 
clusive of train met on arrival), which they (wrongly) make 
" 7 " ; and they make a similar mistake with the easterly 
train. Bridget (rightly) says that the westerly traveller 
met a train every 6 minutes for 2 hours, but (wrongly) 
makes the number "20"; it should be "21." G. E. B. 
adopts Bo-Peep's method, but (wrongly) strikes out (for 
the easterly traveller) the train which started at the com- 
mencement of the previous 2 hours. Mary thinks a train, 
met on arrival, must not be counted, even when met on a 
iwevioiis occasion. 

The 3, who are wholly right but for the unfortunate 
" Clara " theory, are F. Lee, G. S. C, and X. A. B. 

And now " descend, ye classic Ten ! " who have 

Answers to Knot III. 


solved the whole problem. Your names are Aix-les- 
Baixs, Algernon Bray (thanks for a friendly remark, 
which comes with a heart-warmth that not even the 
Atlantic could chill), Arvon, Bradshaw of the Future, 
FiFEE, H. L. R., J. L. O, Omega, S. S. G., and Waiting 
FOR THE Train. Several of these have put Clara, pro- 
visionally, into the easterly train : but they seem to have 
understood that the data do not decide thafc point. 



Aix-le-Bains. H. L. R. 

Algernon Bray. Omega. 

Bradshaw of the Future. S. S. G. 

Fifee. Waiting for the train, 

Arvon. J. L. O. 

F. Lee. G. S. C. X. A. B. 

9 6 Appendix. 


ProUem. — "There are 5 sacks, of which Nos. 1,2, weigh 
12 lbs.; Nos. 2, 8, 13 J lbs.; Nos. 3, 4, Hi lbs.; Nos. 4, 5, 
8lbs. ; Nos. 1, 3, 5, 16 lbs. Required the weight of each 

Answer.—" oj, 6|-, 7, 41-, 3|." 

The sum of all the weighings, 61 lbs., includes sack 
No. 3 thrice and each other ticice. Deducting twice the 
sum of the 1st and 4th weighings, we get 21 lbs. for thrice 
No. 3, i.e., 7 lbs. for No. 3. Hence, the 2nd and 3rd 
weighings give 6 J lbs., 4^ lbs. for Nos. 2,4; and hence 
again, the 1st and 4th weighings give 5^ lbs., 31 lbs., for 
Nos. 1, 5. 

Ninety-seven answers have been received. Of these, 
15 are beyond the reach of discussion, as they give no 
working. I can but enumerate their names, and I take 
this opportunity of saying that this is the last time I 
shall put on record the names of competitors who give no 

AxswERS TO Knot IY. 97 

sort of clue to the process by which their answers were 
obtained. In guessing a conundrum, or in catching a 
flea, we do not expect the breathless victor to give us 
afterwards, in cold blood, a history of the mental or 
muscular efforts by which he achieved success; but a 
mathematical calculation is another thing. The names of 
this "mute inglorious" band are Common Sense, D. E. R., 
Douglas, E. L., Ellen, I. M. T., J. M. C, Joseph, Knot I, 
Lucy, Meek, M. F. C, Pyramus, Shah, Veritas. 

Of the eighty-two answers with which the working, or 
some approach to it, is supplied, one is wrong : seventeen 
have given solutions which are (from one cause or another) 
practically valueless : the remaining sixty-four I shall try 
to arrange in a Class-list, according to the varying degrees 
of shortness and neatness to which they seem to have 

The solitary wrong answer is from Nell. To be thus 
"alone in the crowd" is a distinction — a painful one, no 
doubt, but still a distinction. I am sorry for you, my 
dear young lady, and I seem to hear your tearful exclama- 
tion, when you read these lines, " Ah 1 This is the knell 
of all my hopes ! " Why, oh why, did you assume that 
the 4th and 5th bags weighed 4 lbs. each ? And why 
did you not test your answers ? However, please try 
again: and please don't change your no7n -de-plume : let 
us have Nell in the First Class next time ! 


98 Appendix. 

The seventeen whose solutions are practically valueless 
are Ardmore, A ready Keckoner, Arthur, Bog-Lark, 
Bog-Oak, Bridget, First Attempt, J. L. C, M. E. T., 
Rose, Rowena, Sea-Breeze, Sylvia, Thistledown, 
Three-Fifths Asleep, Vendredi, and Winifred. Bog- 
Lark tries it by a sort of "rule of false," assuming 
experimentally that Nos. 1, 2, weigh 6 lbs. each, and 
having thus produced I7i, instead of 16, as the weight of 
1, 3, and 5, she removes "the superfluous pound and a 
half," but does not explain how she knows from which to 
take it. Three-fifths Asleep says that (when in that 
peculiar state) " it seemed perfectly clear " to her that, 
"3 out of the 5 sacks being weighed twice over, f of 
45 = 27, must be the total weight of the 5 sacks." As 
to which I can only say, with the Captain, " it beats me 
entirely 1 " Winifred, on the plea that " one must have 
a starting-point," assumes (what I fear is a mere guess) 
that No. 1 w^eighed ol lbs. The rest all do it, wholly 
or partly, by guess-work. 

The problem is of course (as any Algebraist sees 
at once) a case of "simultaneous simple equations." 
It is, however, easily soluble by Arithmetic only; and, 
when this is the case, I hold that it is bad workmanship 
to use the more complex method. I have not, this time, 
given more credit to arithmetical solutions ; but in future 
problems I shall (other things being equal) give the 

Answers to Knot IV. 99 

highest marks to those who use the simplest machinery. 
I have put into Class I. those whose answers seemed 
specially short and neat, and into Class III. those that 
seemed specially long or clumsy. Of this last set, A. C. M., 
FuEZE-BusH, James, Partridge, E. W., and Waiting 
FOR THE Train, have sent long wandering solutions, 
the substitutions having no definite method, but seeming 
to have been made to see what would come of it. 
Chilpome and Dublin Boy omit some of the working. 
Arvon Marlborough Boy only finds the weight of 
one sack. 

H 2 




B. E. D. 

C. H. 

Constance Johnson. 

J. F. A. 
M. A. H. 


American Subscriber. 

An appreciative schoolma' am 


Bradshaw of the Future. 


C. M. G. 

Dinah Mite. 


E. C. M. 

E. N. LowRY. 



Number Five. 


R. E. X. 

Seven Old Men. 

Yis Inertia. 

Willy B. 


F. H. W. 

. FiFEE. 

G. E. B. 
Hough Green. 
J. A. B. 
Jack Tar. 

J. B. B. 
Land Lubber. 
L. D. 

Answers to Kxot IV. 








Old Cat. 


Simple Susan. 
S. S. G. 

Y. M. A. H. 


A C. M. 

Arvon Marlborough Boy. 


Dublin Boy. 




R. W. 

Waiting for the Train 

102 Appendix. 


Problem. — To mark pictures, giving 3 x 's to 2 or 
3, 2 to 4 or 5, and 1 to 9 or 10; also giving 3o's to 1 
or 2, 2 to 3 or 4 and 1 to 8 or 9 ; so as to mark the 
smallest possible number of pictures, and to give tliem 
the largest possible number of marks. 

Ansiver. — 10 pictures; 29 marks; arranged thus: — 
XXXXX oooo 


Solution. — By giving all the x's possible, putting into 
brackets the optional ones, we get 10 pictures marked 

thus : — 

X X X X (X) 
X X (X) 
By then assigning o's in the same way, beginning at 
the other end, we get 9 pictures marked thus : — 

(o) o 
(o) o o o 
All we have now to do is to run these two wedgfes 

Answees to Kxot y. 103 

as close together as they will go, so as to get the 

minimum number of pictures erasing optional marks 

where by so doing we can run them closer, but other- 
wise letting them stand. There are 10 necessary marks 
in the 1st row, and in the 3rd ; but only 7 in the 2nd. 
Hence we erase all optional marks in the 1st and Srd 
rows, but let them stand in the 2nd. 

Twenty-two answers have been received. Of these 
11 give no working; so, in accordance with what I 
announced in my last review of answers, I leave them 
unnamed, merely mentioning that 5 are right and 6 

Of the eleven answers with which some working is 
supplied, 3 are wrong. C. H. begins with the rash 
assertion that under the given conditions "the sum is 
impossible. For," he or she adds (these initialed corres- 
pondents are dismally vague beings to deal with : perhaps 
"it" would be a better pronoun), " 10 is the least possible 
number of pictures " (granted) : " therefore we must either 
give 2 x's to 6, or 2 o's to 5." Why "must," oh 
alphabetical phantom? It is nowhere ordained that 
every picture " must " have 3 marks ! Fifee sends a 
folio page of solution, which deserved a better fate : she 
offers 3 answers, in each of which 10 pictures are 

104 Appendix. 

marked, with 30 marks; in one she gives 2 X's to 6 
pictures ; in another to 7 ; in the 3rd she gives 2 o's to 
5 ; thus in every case ignoring the conditions. (I pause 
to remark that the condition "2 x's to 4 or 5 pictures" 
can only mean " cither to 4 or else to 5 " : if, as one 
competitor holds, it might mean any number not less 
than 4, the words " or 5 " would be suj)erfluous.) I. E. A. 
(I am happy to say that none of these bloodless 
phantoms appear this time in the class-list. Is it 
IDEA with the " D " left out ?) gives 2 x's to 6 pictures. 
She then takes me to task for using the word ''ought" 
instead of " nought." No doubt, to one who thus rebels 
against the rules laid down for her guidance, the word 
must be distasteful. But does not I. E. A. remember the 
parallel case of "adder"? That creature was originally " a 
nadder": then the two words took to bandying the poor 
" n " backwards and forwards like a shuttlecock, the final 
state of the game being " an adder." May not '' a nought " 
have similarly become ''an ought"? Anyhow, "oughts 
and crosses" is a very old game. I don't think I ever 
heard it called " noughts and crosses." 

In the following Class-list, I hope the solitary occupant 
of III. will sheathe her claws when she hears how narrow 
an escape she has had of not being named at all. Her 
account of the process by which she got the answer is so 
meagre that, like the nursery tale of " Jack-a-Minory " (I 

Answers to Knot V. 105 

trust I. E. A. will be merciful to the spelling), it is 
scarcely to be clistiDguished from "zero." 



Guy. Old Cat. 





Beadshaw of the Future. 

H. Yerxon. 



106 Appendix. 


Problem 1. — A and B began the year with only 1,000/. 
a-piece. They borrowed nought ; they stole nought. On 
the next New-Year's Day they had 60,000/. between 
them. How did they do it ? 

Sohction. — They went that day to the Bank of England. 
A stood in front of it, while B w^ent round and stood 
behind it. 

Two answers have been received, both worthy of much 
honour. Addlepate makes them borrow " " and steal 
" 0," and uses both cyphers by putting them at the right- 
hand end of the 1,000/., thus producing 100,000/., which 
is well over the mark. But (or to express it in Latin) 
At Spes infkacta has solved it even more ingeniously : 
with the first cypher she turns the " 1 " of the 1,000/. 
into a " 9," and adds the result to the original sum, thus 
getting 10,000/. : and in this, by means of the other "0," 
she turns the " 1 " into a " 6," thus hitting the exact 

Answers to Knot YI. 107 


At Spes Ixfracta. 



Prohlem 2. — L makes 5 scarves, while 31 makes 2 : 
Z makes 4 while Z makes 3. Five scarves of Z's weigh 
one of X's ; 5 of J/'s weigh 3 of Z's. One of Ifs is as 
warm as 4 of Z's : and one of Z's as warm as 3 of M's. 
Which is best, giving equal weight in the result to 
rapidity of work, lightness, and warmth ? 

Answer. — The order is M, L, Z. 

Solution. — As to rapidity (other things being constant) 
Z's merit is to ilf 's in the ratio of 5 to 2 : Z's to X's in 
the ratio of 4 to 3. In order to get one set of 3 numbers 
fulfilling these conditions, it is perhaps simplest to take the 
one that occurs twice as unity, and reduce the others to 
fractions : this gives, for L, M, and Z, the marks 1, |, f. In 
estimating for lightness, we observe that the greater the 
weight, the less the merit, so that Z's merit is to Z's as 
5 to 1. Thus the marks for lightness are ^, f, 1. And 
similarly, the marks for warmth are 3, 1, J. To get the 

108 Appendix. 

total result, we must multvply X's 3 marks together, and 
do the same for M and for Z. The final numbers are 
1x^x3, |x|xl, fxlxl; i.e. |, -, J; i.e. multiplying 
throughout by 15 (which will not alter the proportion), 
9, 10, 5 ; showing the order of merit to be J/, Z, Z. 

Twenty-nine answers have been received, of which 
five are right, and twenty-four wrong. These hapless 
ones have all (with three exceptions) fallen into the 
error of adding the proportional numbers together, for 
each candidate, instead of midtiplying. Why the latter 
is right, rather than the former, is fully proved in text- 
books, so I will not occupy space by stating it here : but 
it can be ilhistrated very easily by the case of length, 
breadth, and depth. Suppose A and B are rival diggers 
of rectangular tanks : the amount of work done is 
evidently measured by the number of cvMccd feet dug 
out. Let A dig a tank 10 feet long, 10 wide, 2 deep : 
let B dig one 6 feet long, 5 wide, 10 deep. The cubical 
contents are 200, 300 ; i.e. B is best digger in the 
ratio of 3 to 2. Now try marking for length, width, and 
depth, separately ; giving a maximum mark of 10 to 
the best in each contest, and then adding the results ! 

Of the twenty-four malefactors, one gives no working, 
and so has no real claim to be named ; but I break the 
rule for once, in deference to its success in Problem 1 : 

Answers to Knot VI. 109 

he, she, or it, is Addlepate. The other twenty-three 
may be divided into five groups. 

First and worst are, I take it, those who put the 
rightful winner last; arranging them as "Lolo, Zuzu, 
Mimi." The names of these desperate wrong-doers are 
Ayr, Bradshaw^ of the Future, Furze-bush and 
Pollux (who send a joint answer), Greystead, Guy^ 
Old Hex, and Simple Susax. The latter was once best 
of all ; the Old Hen has taken advantage of her sim- 
plicity, and beguiled her with the chaff which was the 
bane of her own chickenhood. 

Secondly, I point the finger of scorn at those who have 
put the worst candidate at the top ; arranging them as 
" Zuzu, Mimi, Lolo." They are Graecia, M. M., Old 
Cat, and E. E. X. " 'Tis Greece, but ." 

The third set have avoided both these enormities, and 
have even succeeded in putting the worst last, their answer 
being " Lolo, Mimi, Zqzu." Their names are Ayr (who 
also appears among the "quite too too"), Cliftox C, 
F. B., FiFEE, Grig, Jaxet, and Mrs. Sairey Gamp. 
F. B. has not fallen into the common error ; she multixdies 
together the proportionate numbers she gets, but in 
getting them she goes wrong, by reckoning warmth as a 
de-mQY\t. Possibly she is ''Freshly Burnt," or comes 
" From Bombay." Jaxet and Mrs. Sairet Gamp have 
also avoided this error : the method they have adopted is 

110 Appendix. 

shrouded in mystery — I scarcely feel competent to criticize 
it. Mrs. Gamp says " if Zuzu makes 4 while Lolo makes 
8, Zuzu makes 6 while Lolo makes 5 (bad reasoning), 
while Mimi makes 2." From this she concludes " there- 
fore Zuzu excels in speed by 1 " {i.e. when compared with 
Lolo ; but what about Mimi ? ). She then compares the 
3 kinds of excellence, measured on this mystic scale. 
Janet takes the statement, that "Lolo makes 5 while 
Mimi makes 2," to prove that " Lolo makes 8 while 
Mimi makes 1 and Zuzu 4" (worse reasoning than 
Mrs. Gamp's), and thence concludes that "Zuzu excels 
in speed by ^ " ! Janet should have been Adeline, 
" mystery of mysteries ! " 

The fourth set actually put Mimi at the top, arranging 
them as " Mimi, Zuzu, Lolo." They are Marquis and 
Co. , Martreb, S. B. B. (first initial scarcely legible : may 
be meant for '' J "), and Stanza. 

The fifth set consist of An ancient Fish and Camel. 
These ill-assorted comrades, by dint of foot and fin, have 
scrambled into the right answer, but, as their method is 
wrong, of course it counts for nothing. Also An ancient 
Fish has very ancient and fishlike ideas as to liow numbers 
represent merit : she says " Lolo gains 2| on Mimi." Two 
and a half what ? Fish, fish, art thou in thy duty ? 

Of the five winners I put Balbus and The elder 
Traveller slightly below the other three — Balbus for 

Answers to Kxot VI. Ill 

defective reasoning, the other for scanty working. 
Balbus gives two reasons for saying tliat addition of 
marks is not the right method, and then adds " it follows 
that the decision must be made by multiplying the marks 
together." This is hardly more logical than to say " This 
is not Spring : therefore it must be Autumn." 


DixAH Mite. E. B. D. L. Joeam. 

Balbus. The Elder Traveller. 

With regard to Knot V., I beg to express to Vis 
Inertia and to any others who, like her, understood 
the condition to be that every marked picture must have 
three marks, my sincere regret that the unfortunate phrase 
*'fill the columns with oughts and crosses" should have 
caused them to waste so much time and trouble. I can 
only repeat that a literal interpretation of " fill " would 
seem to me to require that every picture in the gallery 
should be marked. Vis Inertia would have been in the 
First Class if she had sent in the solution she now offers. 

112 Appexdix. 


ProUcm. — Given that one glass of lemonade, 3 sand- 
wiches, and 7 biscuits, cost Is. 2cl. ; and that one glass 
of lemonade, 4 sandwiches, and 10 biscuits, cost Is. od. : 
find the cost of (1) a glass of lemonade, a sandwich, and 
a biscuit ; and (2) 2 glasses of lemonade, 3 sandwiches, 
and 5 biscuits. 

Ansiver. — (1) 8t/. ; (2) Is. "Jcl. 

Sohdirm. — This is best treated algebraically. Let x = 
the cost (in pence) of a glass of lemonade, 3/ of a sandwich, 
and z oi a biscuit. Then we have x -\-Sy -\-7z =14, and 
x + 4!y+10z — 17. And we require the values of x + y-\-z, 
and of 2x-\- ^y + oz. Now, from two equations only, 
we cannot find, scparatdy , the values of tlirm unknowns : 
certain comhinations of them may, however, be found. 
Also we know that we can, by the help of the given 
equations, eliminate 2 of the 3 unknowns from the 
quantity whose value is required, which will then contain 
one onl}^ If, then, the required value is ascertainable 
at all, it can only be by the 3rd unknown vanishing of 
itself: otherwise the problem is impossible. 

Answers to Knot VII. 113 

Let us then eliminate lemonade and sandwiches, and 
reduce everything to biscuits — a state of things even 
more depressing than '* if all the world were apple-pie " — 
by subtracting the 1st equation from the 2nd, which 
eliminates lemonade, and gives ^ + 3,:; = 3, or y = ^ —Sz; 
and then substituting this value of y in the 1st, which 
gives X — 2z= 5, i.e. x^'b 4- 2z. Now if we substitute 
these values of x, y, in the quantities whose values are 
required, the first becomes (5 + 2z) + (3 — 3:;) + z, i.e. 8 : 
and the second becomes 2 (5 -}- 2z) + 3 (3 — 8,r) + bz, i.e. 19. 
Hence the answers are (1) 8cZ., (2) Is. Id. 

The above is a universal method : that is, it is absolutely 
certain either to produce the answer, or to prove that 
no answer is possible. The question may also be solved 
by combining the quantities whose values are given, so 
as to form those whose values are required. This is 
merely a matter of ingenuity and good luck : and as it 
may fail, even when the thing is possible, and is of no 
use in proving it ^w?possible, I cannot rank this method 
as equal in value with the other. Even when it succeeds, 
it may prove a very tedious process. Suppose the 26 
competitors, who have sent in what I may call accidental 
solutions, had had a question to deal with where every 
number contained 8 or 10 digits ! I suspect it would 
have been a case of "silvered is the raven hair" (see 


114 Appendix. 

" Patience ") before any solution would have been hit 
on by the most ingenious of them. 

Forty-five answers have come in, of which 44 give, I 
am happy to say, some sort of working, and therefore 
deserve to be mentioned by name, and to have their 
virtues, or vices as the case may be, discussed. Thirteen 
have made assumptions to which they have no right, 
and so cannot fissure in the Class-list, even thous^h, in 10 
of the 12 cases, the answer is right. Of the remainiug 
28, no less than 26 have sent in accideiital solutions, and 
therefore fall short of the highest honours. 

I will now discuss individual cases, taking the w^orst 
first, as my custom is. 

Froggy gives no working — at least this is all he gives : 
after stating the given equations, he says " therefore the 
difference, 1 sandwich 4- 3 biscuits, = od!' : then follow the 
amounts of the unknown bills, with no further hint as 
to how he got them. Froggy has had a very narrow 
escape of not being named at all ! 

Of those who are wronoj. Vis Inertia has sent in a 
piece of incorrect working. Peruse the horrid details, 
and shudder ! She takes x (call it " y ") as the cost of a 
sandwich, and concludes (rightly enough) that a biscuit will 

3 — y 

cost — .^ . She then subtracts the second equation from 

3 - V 3 — y 

the first, and deduces 3^ -f 7 x -' — 4y -|- 10 x - .,— = 3. 

o o 


Answers to Knot YIL 115 

By making two mistakes in tliis line, slie brings out 

y = '^y Try it again, oh Vis Inertle ! Away with 

TnertlE: infuse a little more Vis : and you will bring 
out the correct (though uninteresting) result, = 0! 
This will show you that it is hopeless to try to coax 
any one of these 3 unknowns to reveal its scixvraU value. 
The other competitor, who is wrong throughout, is either 
J. M. C. or T. M. C. : but, whether he be a Juvenile 
Mis-Calculator or a True Mathematician Confused, he 
makes the answers ^id. and Is. ^d. He assumes, with 
Too Much Confidence, that biscuits were Id. each, and 
that Clara paid for 8, though she only ate 7 1 

We will now consider the 13 whose working is Avrong, 
thouQfh the ans\Yer is right : and, not to measure their 
demerits too exactly, I will take them in alphabetical 
order. Anita finds (rightl}-) that " 1 sandwich and 3 
biscuits cost 3fZ.," and proceeds "therefore 1 sandwich =l|<i., 
3 biscuits = \\d., 1 lemonade = 6fZ." Dinah Mite begins 
like Anita : and thence proves (rightly) that a biscuit 
costs less than a Ad.: whence she concludes (wrongly) 
that it must cost \d. F. C. W. is so beautifully resigned 
to the certainty of a verdict of " guilty," that I have 
hardly the heart to utter the word, without adding a 
" recommended to mercy owing to extenuating circum- 
stances." But really, you know, where arc the extenuating 

I 2 

116 Appendix. 

circumstances ? She begins by assuming that lemonade 
is 41(1. a glass, and sandwiches Sd. each, (making with 
the 2 given equations, four conditions to be fulfilled by 
three miserable unknowns !). And, having (naturally) 
developed this into a contradiction, she then tries 5d. 
and 2d. with a similar result. (N.B. This process might 
have been carried on through the whole of the Tertiary 
Period, without gratifying one single Megatherium.) She 
then, by a " happy thought," tries half-penny biscuits, 
and so obtains a consistent result. This may be a good 
solution, viewing the problem as a conundrum : but it 
is not scientific. Janet identifies sandwiches with biscuits! 
" One sandwich + 3 biscuits " she makes equal to " 4." 
Four what ? Mayfair makes the astounding assertion 
that the equation, s -1- 36 = 3, "is evidently only satisfied 

8 1 

by s = ^,h = -^" ! Old Cat believes that the assumption 

that a sandwich costs l^d. is " the only way to avoid 
unmanageable fractions." But ^vh7J avoid them ? Is there 
not a certain glow of triumph in taming such a fraction ? 
" Ladies and gentlemen, the fraction now before you is 
one that for years defied all efforts of a refining nature : 
it was, in a word, hopelessly vulgar. Treating it as a 
circulating decimal (the treadmill of fractions) only made 
matters worse. As a last resource, I reduced it to its 
lowest terms, and extracted its square root!" Joking 

Answers to Knot VIT. 117 

apart, let me thank Old Cat for some very kind words 
of sympathy, in reference to a correspondent (whose name 
I am happy to say I have now forgotten) who had found 
fault with me as a discourteous critic. O. V. L. is 
beyond my comprehension. He takes the given equations 
as (1) and (2) : thence, by the process [(2) — (1)] deduces 
(rightly) equation (3) viz. s + Sb = S: and thence again, 
by the process [ X 3] (a hopeless mystery), deduces 
3s 4 4/^ = 4. I have nothing to say about it : I give it 
up. Sea-Breeze says " it is immaterial to the answer" 
(why?) "in what proportion Sd. is divided between the 
sandwich and the 3 biscuits": so she assumes s — Hd., 
h = \d. Stanza is one of a very irregular metre. At 
first she (like Janet) identifies sandwiches with biscuits. 

2 1 

She then tries two assumptions {s = l,h = -' and s = - 

h = 1)^ and (naturally) ends in contradictions. Then she 

returns to the first assumption, and finds the 3 unknowns 
separately : quod est ahsurdum. Stiletto identifies 
sandwiches and biscuits, as " articles." Is the word 
ever used by confectioners ? I fancied " What is the 
next article. Ma'am ? " was limited to linendrapers. Two 
Sisters first assume that biscuits are 4 a penny, and 
then that they are 2 a penny, adding that " the answer 
will of course be the same in both cases." It is a dreamy 

118 Appendix. 

remark, making one feel something like Macbeth grasping 
at the spectral dagger. " Is this a statement that I see 
before me ? " If you were to say " we both walked the 
same way this morning," and / were to say " one of you 
walked the same way, but the other didn't," which of the 
three would be the most hopelessly confused ? Turtle 
Pyate (what is a Turtle Pyate, please ?) and Old Crow, 
who send a joint answer, and Y. Y., adopt the same 
method. Y. Y. gets the equation s+ Sh = o : and then 
says " this sum must be aj^portionecl in one of the three 
following ways." It onay be, I grant you : but Y. Y. do 
you say " must " ? I fear it is ■possiUc for Y, Y. to be 
f/ioo Y's. The other two conspirators are less positive : 
they say it " can " be so divided: but they add "either 
of the three prices being right" ! This is bad grammar 
and bad arithmetic at once, oh mysterious birds ! 

Of those who win honours, The Shetland Snark 
must have the 3rd class all to himself. He has only 
answered half the question, viz. the amount of Clara's 
luncheon : the two little old ladies he pitilessly leaves in 
the midst of their "difficulty." I beg to assure him 
(with thanks for his friendly remarks) tha,t entrance-fees 
and subscriptions are things unknown in that most 
economical of clubs, " The Knot-Untiers." 

The authors of the 26 "accidental" solutions differ 
only in the number of steps they have taken between the 

Answers to Kxot YII. Ill) 

data and the answers. In order to do them full justice I 
have arranged the 2nd class in sections, according to the 
number of steps. The two Kings are fearfully deliberate 1 
I suppose Avalking quick, or taking short cuts, is incon- 
sistent with kingly dignity : but really, in reading 
Theseus' solution, one almost fancied he was " marking 
time," and makino- no advance at all ! The other Kin or 
will, I hope, pardon me for having altered " Coal " into 
" Cole." King Coilus, or Coil, seems to have reigned soon 
after Arthur's time. Henry of Huntingdon identifies him 
with the Kmg Coel who first built walls round Colchester, 
which was named after him. In the Chronicle of Robert 
of Gloucester we read : — 

" Afiur Kyng Aruirag, of warn we habbeth y told, 
Marius ys sone was kyng, quoynte men & bold. 
And ys sone was aftur hym, Coil was ys name, 
Botlie it were qiioynte men, & of noble fame." 

Balbus lays it down as a general principle that " in 
order to ascertain the cost of any one luncheon, it must 
come to the same amount upon two different assumptions." 
{Query. Should not " it " be " we " ? Otherwise the 
luncheon is represented as wishing to ascertain its own 
cost !) He then makes two assumptions — one, that sand- 
wiches cost nothing ; the other, that biscuits cost nothing, 
(either arrangement would lead to the shop being 
inconveniently crowded I) — and brings out the unknown 

120 Appendix. 

luncheons as 8d. and Idd., on each assumption. He then 
concludes that this agreement of results " shows that the 
answers are correct." Now I propose to disprove his 
general law by simply giving one instance of its failing. One 
instance is quite enough. In logical language, in order to 
disprove a " universal affirmative," it is enough to prove its 
contradictory, which is a " particular negative." (I must 
pause for a digression on Logic, and especially on Ladies' 
Logic. The universal affirmative " everybody says he's a 
duck " is crushed instantly by proving the particular 
negative " Peter says he's a goose," which is equivalent to 
" Peter does not say he's a duck." And the universal 
negative " nobody calls on her " is well met by the par- 
ticular affirmative " / called yesterday." In short, either 
of two contradictories disproves the other : and the moral 
is that, since a particular proposition is much more easily 
proved than a universal one, it is the wisest course, in 
arguing with a Lady, to limit one's ow7i assertions to 
" particulars," and leave he7' to prove the " universal " 
contradictory, if she can. You will thus generally secure 
a logical victory : a practical victory is not to be hoped for, 
since she can always fall back upon the crushing remark 
*' that has nothing to do with it ! " — a move for which 
Man has not yet discovered any satisfactory answer. Now 
let us return to Balbus.) Here is my " particular 
negative," on which to test his rule. Suppose the two 

Answers to Knot YII. 121 

recorded luncheons to have been " 2 buns, one queen- 
cake, 2 sausag^e-rolls, and a bottle of Zoedone : total, one- 
and-ninepence," and " one bun, 2 queen-cakes, a sausage- 
roll, and a bottle of Zoedone : total, one-and-fourpence." 
And suppose Clara's unknown luncheon to have been " 3 
buns, one queen-cake, one sausage-roll, and 2 bottles of 
Zoedone : " while the two little sisters had been indulging in 
" 8 buns, 4 queen-cakes, 2 sausage-rolls, and 6 bottles of 
Zoedone." (Poor souls, how thirsty they must have 
been ! ) If Balbus will kindly try this by his principle 
of "two assumptions," first assuming that a bun is Id. 
and a queen-cake 2d., and then that a bun is od. and a 
queen-cake Sd., he will bring out the other two luncheons, 
on each assumption, as " one-and-nine-pence " and " four- 
and-ten-pence " respectively, which harmony of results, he 
will say, " shows that the answers are correct." And yet, 
as a matter of fact, the buns were 2d. each, the queen- 
cakes Sd., the sausage-rolls Qd., and the Zoedone 2d. a 
bottle : so that Clara's third luncheon had cost one-and- 
sevenpence, and her thirsty friends had spent four-and 
fourpence ! 

Another remark of Balbus I will quote and discuss : 
for I think that it also may yield a moral for some of my 
readers. He says "it is the same thing in substance 
whether in solving this problem we use words and call it 
Arithmetic, or use letters and signs and call it Algebra." 

122 Appexdix. 

Now this does not appear to me a correct description of 
the two methods : the Arithmetical method is that of 
" synthesis " only ; it goes from one known fact to 
another, till it reaches its goal : whereas the Algebraical 
method is that of " analysis : " it begins with the goal, 
symbolically represented, and so goes backwards, dragging 
its veiled victim with it, till it has reached the full 
daylight of known facts, in which it can tear off the veil 
and say " I know you I " 

Take an illustration. Your house has been broken into 
and robbed, and you appeal to the policeman who was on 
duty that night. " Well, Mum, I did see a chap getting 
out over your garden-wall : but I was a good bit off, so I 
didn't chase him, like. I just cut down the short way 
to the Chequers, and who should I meet but Bill Sykes, 
coming full sj^lit round the corner. So I just ups and 
says ' My lad, you're wanted.' That's all I says. And 
he says ' I'll go along quiet, Bobby,' he says, ' without the 
darbies,' he says." There's 3^our Aritlimetical policeman. 
Now try the other method. " I seed somebody a running, 
but he was well gone or ever / got nigh the place. So I 
just took a look round in the garden. And I noticed the 
foot-marks, where the chap had come right across your 
flower-beds. They was good big foot-marks sure-ly. 
And I noticed as the left foot went down at the heel, ever 
so much deeper than the other. And I says to myself 

Answees to Kxot VIL 123 

' The chap's been a big hulking chap : and he goes lame 
on his left foot.' And I rubs my hand on the Avail where 
he got over, and there was soot on it, and no mistake. So 
I says to myself ' Now where can I light on a big man, 
in the chimbley-sw^eep line, Avhat's lame of one foot ? ' 
And I flashes up permiscuous : and I says ^It's Bill 
Sykes ! ' says I." There is your Algebraical policeman — a 
higher intellectual type, to my thinking, than the other. 

Little Jack's solution calls for a word of praise, as 
he has written out what really is an algebraical proof 
m words, without representing any of his facts as equa- 
tions. If it is all his own, he will make a good algebraist 
in the time to come. I beg to thank Simple Susan 
for some kind words of sympathy, to the same effect 
as those received from Old Cat. 

Hecla and Martreb are the only two wdio have 
used a method certain either to produce the answer, or 
else to prove it impossible : so they must share between 
them the highest honours. 




§ 1 (2 steps). 

Clifton C 

E. K. C. 

Little Jack. 
Nil desperandum. 
Simple Susan. 
Woolly One. 

§ 3 (4 steps). 


S. S. G. 

§ 4 (5 steps). 
A Stepney Coach. 



§ 2 {^ steps), 
A A. 

A Christmas Carol. 
Afternoon Tea. 
An appreciative Schoolma'am. 
The Red Queen. 
Wall- FLOWER. 

§ 5 (6 steps). 
Bay Laurel. 


§ 6 (9 steps). 
Old King Cole. 

§ 7 (14 steps). 

Answers to Knot A^II. 125 


I HAVE received several letters on the subjects of 
Knots II. and VI., which lead me to think some further 
explanation desirable. 

In Knot II., I had intended the numbering of the 
houses to begin at one corner of the Square_, and this 
was assumed by most, if not all, of the competitors. 
Tro JANUS however says '' assuming, in default of any 
information, that the street enters the square in the 
middle of each side, it may be supposed that the 
numbering begins at a street." But surely the other is 
the more natural assumption? 

In Knot VI., the first Problem was of course a mere 
jeu de mots, whose presence I thought excusable in a 
series of Problems whose aim is to entertain rather 
than to instruct : but it has not escaped the con- 
temptuous criticisms of two of my correspondents, who 
seem to think that Apollo is m duty bound to keep 
his bow always on the stretch. Neither of them has 
guessed it : and this is true human nature. Only the 
other day — the 8 1st of September, to be quite exact — 
I met my old friend Brown, and gave him a riddle I 
had just heard. With one great effort of his colossal 
mind, Brown guessed it. "Right!" said I "Ah," said 

126 Append rx. 

he, "it's very neat — very neat. And it isn't an answer 
that would occur to everybody. Very neat indeed." A 
few yards further on, I fell in with Smith and to him 
I propounded the same riddle. He frowned over it for 
a minute, and then gave it up. Meekly I faltered out 
the answer. " A poor thing, sir ! " Smith growled, as 
he turned away. " A very poor thing ! I wonder you 
care to repeat such rubbish 1 " Yet Smith's mind is, if 
possible, even more colossal than Brown's. 

The second Problem of Knot YI. is an example in 
ordinary Double Rule of Three, whose essential feature 
is that the result depends on the variation of several 
elements, which are so related to it that, if all but one 
be constant, it varies as that one : hence, if none be 
constant, it varies as their product. Thus, for example, 
the cubical contents of a rectangular tank vary as its 
length, if breadth and depth be constant, and so on ; 
hence, if none be constant, it varies as the product of 
the length, breadth, and depth. 

When the result is not thus connected with the 
varying elements, the Problem ceases to be Double 
Rule of Three and often becomes one of great complexity. 

To illustrate this, let us take two candidates for a 
prize, A and B, who are to compete in French, German, 
and Italian : 

{a) Let it be laid down that the result is to depend 

Answers to Kxot A^IL 127 

on their rclatue knowledge of each subject, so that, 
whether then- marks, for French, be " 1, 2 " or " 100, 
200," the result will be the same : and let it also be 
laid down that, if they get equal marks on 2 papers, 
the final marks are to have the same ratio as those of 
the 8rd paper. This is a case of ordinary Double 
Rule of Three. We multiply ^'s 3 marks together, 
and do the same for B. Note that, if A gets a single 
" 0," his final mark is *' 0," even if he gets full marks 
for 2 papers while B gets only one mark for each paper. 
This of course would be very unfair on A, though a 
correct solution under the given conditions. 

(b) The result is to depend, as before, on relative 
knowledge ; but French is to have twice as much 
weight as German or Italian. This is an unusual form 
of question. I should be inclined to say " the 
resulting ratio is to be nearer to the French ratio than 
if we multiplied as in («), and so much nearer that it 
would be necessary to use the other multipliers hvice 
to produce the same result as in («) : " e.g. if the 
French Ratio were yo, and the others f, \ so that 
the ultimate ratio, by method (a), would be ^'V, I 
should multiply instead by f, J, giving the result, j; 
which is nearer to y^o than if he had used method («). 

{c) The result is to depend on actual amount of 
knowledge of the 3 subjects collectively. Here we have 

128 Appendix. 

to ask two questions. (1) What is to be the *' unit" (i.e. 
"standard to measure by") in each subject ? (2) Are these 
units to be of equal, or unequal value ? The usual 
'' unit" is the knowledge shown by answering the whole 
paper correctly ; calling this " 100/' all lower amounts are 
represented by numbers between " " and " 100." Then, 
if these units are to be of equal value, we simj^ly add ^'s 
3 marks together, and do the same for B. 

{(i) The conditions are the same as (c), but French 
is to have double weight. Here we simply double the 
French marks, and add as before. 

(c) French is to have such weight, that, if other marks 
be equal, the ultimate ratio is to be that of the French 
paper, so that a '' " in this would swamp the candidate : 
but the other two subjects are only to affect the result 
collectively, by the amount of knowledge shown, the two 
being reckoned of equal value. Here I should add ^'s 
German and Italian marks together, and multiply by his 
French mark. 

But I need not go on : the problem may evidently be 
set with many varying conditions, each requiring its own 
method of solution. The Problem in Knot VI. was meant 
to belong to variety (a), and to make this clear, I inserted 
the following passage : 

" Usually the competitors differ in one point only. 
Thus, last year, Fifi and Gogo made the same number of 

Answers to Knot YII. 129 

scarves in the trial week, and they were equally ligh t ; 
but Fifi's were twice as warm as Gogo's, and she was 
pronounced twice as good." 

What I have said will suffice, I hope, as an answer 
to Balbus, who holds that (a) and (c) are the only 
possible varieties of the problem, and that to say " We 
cannot use addition, therefore we must be intended to 
use multiplication," is "no more illogical than, from 
knowledo^e that one was not born in the niorht, to infer 
that he was born in the daytime " ; and also to Fifee, 
who says " I think a little more consideration will 
show you that our 'error of adding the proportional 
numbers together for each candidate instead of multi]ply- 
ing' is no error at all." Why, even if addition had 
been the right method to use, not one of the writers (I 
speak from memory) showed any consciousness of the 
necessity of fixing a "unit" for each subject. ''No 
error at all ! " They were positively steeped in 
error ! 

One correspondent (I do not name him, as the 
communication is not quite friendly in tone) writes 
thus : — " I wish to add, very respectfully, that I think 
it w^ould be in better taste if you were to abstain from 
the very trenchant expressions which you are ac- 
customed to indulge in when criticising the answer. That 
such a tone must not be" ("be not"?) "agreeable to 


130 Appendix. 

the persons concerned who have made mistakes may 
possibly have no great weight with you, but 1 hope 
you will feel that it would be as well not to employ 
it, unless you are quite certain of being correct yourself.'" 
The only instances the writer gives of the "trenchant 
expressions" are "hapless" and "malefactors." T beg to 
assure him (and any others Avho may need the assurance : 
I trust there are none) that all such words have been 
used in jest, and with no idea that they could possibly 
annoy any one, and that I sincerely regret any annoy- 
ance I may have thus inadvertently given. May I 
hope that in future the}^ w^ill recognise the distinction 
between severe language used in sober earnest, and 
the ''words of unmeant bitterness," which Coleridge 
has alluded to in that lovely passage beginning "A 
little child, a limber elf " ? If the writer will refer to 
that passage, or to the jDreface to " Fire, Famine, and 
Slaughter," he will find the distinction, for which I 
plead, far better drawn out than I could hope to do 
in any words of mine. 

The writer's insinuation that I care not how much 
annoyance I give to my readers I think it best to pass 
over in silence ; but to his concluding remark I must 
entirely demur. I hold that to use language likely to 
annoy any of my correspondents would not be in the 
least justified by the plea that I was "quite certain of 

Answers to Knot YII. 131 

beino- correct." I trust that the knot-untiers and I are 
not on such terms as those ! 

I beg to thank G. B. for the offer of a puzzle — which, 
however, is too like the old one " Make four 9's into 

K 2 

132 Appendix. 

§ 1. The Pigs. 

Prohlejn. — Place twenty-four pigs in four sties so 
that, as you go round and round, you may always find 
the number in each sty nearer to ten than the number 
in the last. 

Ansiuer. — Place 8 pigs in the first sty, 10 in the 
second, nothing in the third, and G in the fourth : 10 is 
nearer ten than 8 ; nothing is nearer ten than 10 ; G is 
nearer ten than nothing ; and 8 is nearer ten than 6. 

This problem is noticed by only two correspondents. 
Balbus says ''it certainly cannot be solved mathematically, 
nor do I see how to solve it by any verbal quibble." 
Nolens Yolens makes Her Radiancy change the direction 
of going round; and even then is obliged to add "the 
pigs must be carried in front of her " ! 

§ 2. The Grurmstipths. 

Problem. — Omnibuses start from a certain point, 
both ways, every 15 minutes. A traveller, starting on 

Answers to Knot VIII. 133 

foot along with one of them, meets one in 12 \ minutes : 
when will he be overtaken by one ? 
Ansioer. — In 6 J minutes. 

Solution. — Let " a " be the distance an omnibus goes 
in 15 minutes, and "a;" the distance from the starting- 
point to where the traveller is overtaken. Since the 
omnibus met is due at the starting-point in 2J minutes, 
it goes in that time as far as the traveller walks in 121 ; 
i.e. it goes 5 times as fast. Now the overtaking omnibus 
is "«. " behind the traveller when he starts, and therefore 
goes "a 4- x" while he goes "^." Hence a + x = o x\ 

i.e. 4f X = a, and x = -. This distance would be traversed 

by an omnibus in — minutes, and therefore by the 


traveller in 5 x —r-' Hence he is overtaken in 18f 

minutes after starting, i.e. in 6 J minutes after meeting 
the omnibus. 

Four answers have been received, of which two are 
wrong. Dinah Mite rightly states that the overtaking 
omnibus reached the point where they met the other 
omnibus 5 minutes after they left, but wrongly concludes 
that, going 5 times as fast, it would overtake them in 
another minute. The travellers are 5-minutes-walk ahead 

134 Appendix. 

of the omnibus, and must walk l-4th of this distance 
farther before the omnibus overtakes them, which will 
be l-5th of the distance traversed by the omnibus in the 
same time : this will require 1 J minutes more. Nolens 
VoLENS tries it by a process like "Achilles and the 
Tortoise." He rightly states that, when the overtaking 
omnibus leaves the gate, the travellers are l-5th of "a" 
ahead, and that it will take the omnibus 3 minutes to 
traverse this distance ; " during which time " the travellers, 
he tells us, go l-15th of "a" (this should be l-25th). 
The travellers being now 1-1 5th of "a" ahead, he 
concludes that the work remaining to be done is for the 
travellers to go l-60th of "f/," while the omnibus goes 
1-1 2th. The priiici^jlc is correct, and might have been 
applied earlier. 


Balbus. Delta. 

Answers to Knot IX. 135 

§ 1. The Buckets. 

Problem. — Lardner states that a solid, immersed in a 
fluid, disjolaces an amount equal to itself in bulk. How- 
can this be true of a small bucket floating^ in a lars^er 
one ? 

Solution. — Lardner means, by "displaces," "occupies 
a space which might be filled with water without any 
change in the surroundings." If the portion of the 
floating bucket, which is above the water, could be 
annihilated, and the rest of it transformed into water, 
the surrounding water would not change its position : 
which agrees with Lardner's statement. 

Five answers have been received, none of which 
explains the difficulty arising from the well-known fact 
that a floating body is the same weight as the displaced 
fluid. Hecla. says that "only that portion of the smaller 
bucket which descends below the original level of the 
water can be properly said to be immersed, and only an 
equal bulk of water is displaced." Hence, according to 

136 Appendix. 

Hecla, a solid, whose weight was equal to that of an 
equal bulk of water, would not lloat till the whole of it 
was below " the original level " of the water : but, as a 
matter of fact, it would float as soon as it was all under 
water. Magpie says the fallacy is " the assumption that 
one body can displace another from a place where it 
isn't," and that Lardner's assertion is incorrect, except 
when the containing vessel " was originally full to the 
brim." Bat the question of floating depends on the 
present state of things, not on past history. Old King 
Cole takes the same view as Hecla. Tympanum and 
ViNDEX assume that " displaced " means " raised above its 
original level," and merely explain how it conies to pass 
that the water, so raised, is less in bulk than the immersed 
portion of bucket, and thus land themselves — or rather 
set themselves floating — in the same boat as Hecla. 

I regret that there is no Class-list to publish for this 

§ 2. Balbus' Essay. 

Frohlem. — Balbus states that if a certain solid be 
immersed in a certain vessel of water, the water will 
rise through a series of distances, two inches, one inch, 
half an inch, &c., which series has no end. He concludes 
that the water will rise without limit. Is this true ? 

Solution. — No. This series can never reach 4 inches, 

Answers to Kxot IX. 137 

since, however many terms we take, we are always short 
of 4 inches by an amount equal to the last term taken. 

Three answers have been received — bat only two seem 
to me w^orthy of honours. 

Tympanum says that the statement about the stick " is 
merely a blind, to which the old answer may well be 
applied, solviiur amhulanclo, or rather merr/endo." I trust 
Tympanum will not test this in his own person, by taking 
the place of the man in Balbus' Essay ! He would 
infallibly be drowned. 

Old King Cole rightly points out that the series, 2, 
1, &c., is a decreasing Geometrical Progression : while 
V^INDEX rightly identifies the fallacy as that of " Achilles 
and the Tortoise." 



Old King Cole. Vindex. 

§ o. The Garden. 

ProUem. — An oblong garden, ha]f a yard longer than 
wide, consists entirely of a gravel-walk, spirally arranged, 
a yard wide and 3,630 yards long Find the dimensions 
of the garden. 

138 Appendix. 

Answer. — 60, QOL 

Solution. — The number of yards and fractions of a yard 
traversed in walking along a straight piece of walk, is 
evidently the same as the number of square-yards and 
fractions of a square-yard, contained in that piece of 
walk : and the distance, traversed in passing through a 
square-yard at a corner, is evidently a yard. Hence the 
area of the garden is 3,630 square-yards : i.e., if x be the 
width, X (x -\- I) = 3,630. Solving this Quadratic, we 
find X = 60. Hence the dimensions are 60, 60-}. 

Twelve answers have been received — seven rig^ht and 
five wrong. 

C. G. L., Nabob, Old Crow, and Tympanum assume 
that the number of yards in the length of the path is 
equal to the number of square-yards in the garden. This 
is true, but should have been proved. But each is guilty 
of darker deeds. C. G. L.'s " workino^ " consists of dividinor 
8,630 by 60. Whence came this divisor, oh Segiel ? 
Divination ? Or was it a dream ? I fear this solution 
is worth nothing. Old Crowd's is shorter, and so (if 
possible) worth rather less. He says the answer "is at 
once seen to be 60 x 601 " ! Nabob's calculation is 
short, but " as rich as a Nabob " in error. He says that 
the square root of 3,630, multiplied by 2, equals the 

Answers to Knot IX. 139 

length plus tlie breadth. That is 60'25 x 2 = 1201. 

His first assertion is only true of a sq;uare garden. His 

second is irrelevant, since 60'25 is not the square-root of 

3,630 ! Nay, Bob, this will not do ! Tympanum says 

that, by extracting the square-root of 3,030, we get 60 

yards with a remainder of — -, or half-a-yard, which we 

add so as to make the oblong 60 x 60|. This is very 
terrible : but worse remains behind. Tympanum proceeds 
thus: — "But why should there be the half- yard at all? 
Because without it there would be no space at all for 
flowers. By means of it, we find reserved in the very 
centre a small plot of ground, two yards long by half- 
a-yard wide, the only space not occupied by walk." But 
Balbus expressly said that the walk " used up the whole 
of the area." Oh, Tympanum I My tympa is exhausted : 
my brain is num ! I can say no more. 

Hecla indulges, again and again, in that most fatal 
of all habits in computation — the making two mistakes 
which cancel each other. She takes x as the width of 
the garden, in yards, and a.' -|- 1^ as its length, and makes 
her first " coil " the sum of x -^, x — I, x — 1, x — 1, i.e. 
4} X — S: but the fourth term should be x — !{-, so that 
her first coil is I a yard too long. Her second coil is 
the sum of x - 21, x - 2h, x - S, x - S: here the first 
term should be x — 2 and the last x — Sh : these two 

140 Appendix. 

mistakes cancel, and this coil is therefore right. And 
the same thing is true of every other coil but the last, 
which needs an extra half-yard to reach the end of the 
path : and this exactly balances the mistake in the first 
coil. Thus the sum total of the coils comes right though 
the workino^ is all Avronof. 

Of the seven who are right, Dinah Mite, Janet, 
Magpie, and Taffy make the same assumption as C. G. L. 
and Co. They then solve by a Quadratic. Magpie 
also tries it by Arithmetical Progression, but fails to 
notice that the first and last "coils" have special values. 
.' Alumnus Eton.e attempts to prove what C. G. L. 
assumes by a particular instance, taking a garden 6 by 
hi. He ought to have proved it generally: what is true 
of one number is not always true of others. Old King 
Cole solves it by an Arithmetical Progression. It is 
right, but too lengthy to be worth as much as a Quadratic. 

ViNDEX proves it very neatly, by pointing out that a 
yard of walk measured along the middle represents a 
square yard of garden, " whether we consider the straight 
stretches of walk or the square yards at the angles, in 
which the middle line goes half a yard in one direction 
and then turns a right angle and goes half a yard in 
another direction." 

Answers to Knot IX. 141 




Alumnus ETOXiE. Old King Cole. 

Dinah Mite. Magpie. 

Janet. Taffy. 

142 Appendix. 

§ 1. The Chelsea Pensioneks. 

Prohhm. — If 70 per cent, have lost an eye, 75 per cent, 
an ear, 80 per cent, an arm, 85 per cent, a leg: what 
percentage, at least, must have lost all four ? 

Ansiver. — Ten. 

Solution. — (I adopt that of PoLAR Star, as being better 
than my own). Adding the wounds together, we get 
70 +75 + 80 + 85 = 310, among 100 men ; which gives 
3 to each, and 4 to 10 men. Therefore the least per- 
centage is 10. 

Nineteen answers have been received. One is " 5," 
but, as no working is given with it, it must, in accordance 
wath the rule, remain " a deed without a name." Janet 
makes it " 35 and ^^j^ths." I am sorry she has mis- 
understood the question, and has supposed that those who 
had lost an ear were 75 jDer cent, of those who had lost an 
eye; and so on. Of course, on this supposition, the per- 
centages must all be multiplied together. This she has 

Answers to Knot X. 143 

done correctly, but I can give her no honours, as I do not 
think the question will fairly bear her interpretation, 
Three Score and Ten makes it "19 and fths." Her 
solution has given me — I will not say " many anxious days 
and sleepless nights," for I wish to be strictly truthful, but 
— some trouble in making any sense at all of it. She 
makes the number of " pensioners wounded once " to be 
810 ("percent.," I suppose!): dividing by 4, she gets 
77 and a half as " average percentage : " again divid- 
ing by 4. she gets 19 and fths as " percentage wounded 
four times." Does she suppose wounds of different kinds 
to " absorb " each other, so to speak ? Then, no doubt, 
the data are equivalent to 77 pensioners with one wound 
each, and a half-pensioner with a half-wound. And does 
she then suppose these concentrated wounds to be trans- 
ferable, so that fths of these unfortunates can obtain 
perfect health by handing over their wounds to the re- 
maining 4-th ? Granting these suppositions, her answer is 
riofht : or rather, if the question had been " A road is 
covered with one inch of gravel, along 77 and a half per 
cent, of it. How much of it could be covered 4 inches 
deep with the same material ? " her answer vjoulcl have 
been right. But alas, that wasnt the question ! Delta 
makes some most amazing assumptions : " let every one 
who has not lost an eye have lost an ear," " let every one 
who has not lost both eyes and ears have lost an arm." 

144 Appendix. 

Her ideas of a battle-field are grim indeed. Fancy 
a warrior who would continue fighting after losing both 
eyes, both ears, and both arms I This is a case which she 
(or " it ? ") evidently considers possible. 

Next come eight writers who have made the unwarrant- 
able assumption that, because 70 per cent, have lost an 
eye, therefore 30 per cent, have not lost one, so that they 
have loth eyes. This is illogical. If you give me a bag 
containing 100 sovereigns, and if in an hour I come to you 
(my face oiot beaming with gratitude nearly so much as 
when I received the bag) to say " I am sorry to tell you 
that 70 of these sovereigns are bad, " do I thereby 
guarantee the other 30 to be good ? Perhaps I have nut 
tested them yet. The sides of this illogical octagon are as 
follows, in alphabetical order : — Algernon Bray, Dinah 
Mite, G. S. C, Jane E., J. D. W., Magpie (who makes the 
delightful remark " therefore 90 per cent, have two of 
something," recalling to one's memory that fortunate 
monarch, with whom Xerxes was so much pleased that 
" he gave him ten of everything ! "), S. S. G., and ToKio. 

Bradshaw of the Future and T. R. do the question 
in a piecemeal fashion — on the principle that the 70 per 
cent, and the 75 per cent., though commenced at opposite 
ends of the 100, must overlap by at least 45 per cent. ; 
and so on. This is quite correct working, but not, I 
think, quite the best way of doing it. 

Answers to Kxot X. 145 

The other five competitors will, I hope, feel themselves 
sufficiently glorified by being placed in the first class, 
without my composing a Triumphal Ode for each ! 


Old Cat. 


Polar Star. 

Old Hex. 

Simple Susan. 

White Sugar. 





T. R. 

Algernon Bray. 

J. D. W. 

Dinah Mite. 


G. S. C. 

S. S. G. 

Jane E. 


§ 2. Change of Day. 

I must postpone, sine die, the geographical problem 
— partly because I have not yet received the statistics 
I am hoping for, and partly because I am myself so 
entirely puzzled by it; and when an examiner is him- 
self dimly hovering between a second class and a third 
how is he to decide the position of others ? 


146 Appendix. 

§3. The Sons' Ages. 

ProUem. — " At first, two of the ages are together equal 
to the third. A few years afterwards, two of theni 
are together double of the third. V/hen the number 
of years since the first occasion is two-thirds of the suro 
of the ages on that occasion, one age is 21, What are 
the other two ? 

Answer. — " 15 and 18." 

Solution. — Let the ages at first be x, y, (x f y). Now, if 
a + h = 2c, then (a — n) + (5 — 7i) = 2 (c — n), whatever be 
the value of n. Hence the second relationship, if ever true, 
was alvMys true. Hence it was true at first. But it can- 
not be true that x and y are together double of {x + y). 
Hence it must be true of {;x-\-y), together with x or y\ 
and it does not matter which we take. We assume, 
then, (x -^ y) + X = 2y ; i.e. y — 2x. Hence the three ages 
were, at first, x, 2x, Sx ; and the number of years, since 
that time is two-thirds of Gx, i.e. is 4<x. Hence the 
present ages are 5x, 6x, 7x. The ages are clearly integers, 
since this is only " the year when one of my sons comes 
of age." Hence 7a^ = 21, ^ = 3, and the other ages are 
15, 18. 

Answers to Knot X. 147 

Eighteen answers have been received. One of the 
writers merely asserts that the first occasion was 12 
years ago, that the ages were then 9, 6, and 3 ; and that 
on the second occasion they were 14, 11, and 8 ! As 
a Roman father, I ought to withhold the name of the 
rash writer; but respect for age makes me break the 
rule : it is Three Score and Ten. Jane E. also 
asserts that the ages at first were 9, 6, 3 : then she 
calculates the present ages, leaving the second occasion 
unnoticed. Old Hen is nearly as bad; she "tried 
various numbers till I found one that fitted all the 
conditions "; but merely scratching up the earth, and 
pecking about, is not the way to solve a problem, oh 
venerable bird ! And close after Old Hen prowls, with 
hungry eyes. Old Cat, who calmly assumes, to begin 
with, that the son who comes of age is the eldest. 
Eat your bird, Puss, for you will get nothing from 
me 1 

There are yet two zeroes to dispose of. Minerva 
assumes that, on every occasion, a son comes of age ; and 
that it is only such a son who is " tipped with gold." Is 
it wise thus to interpret " now, my boys, calculate your 
ages, and you shall have the money " ? Bradshaw of 
THE Future says "let" the ages at first be 9, 6, 3, then 
assumes that the second occasion was 6 years afterwards, 
and on these baseless assumptions brings out the right 

L 2 

148 Appendix. 

answers. Guide future travellers, an thou wilt : thou 
art no Bradshaw for this Age ! 

Of those who win honours, the merely "honourable" 
are two. Dixah Mite ascertains (rightly) the relation- 
ship between the three ages at first, but then assumes one 
of them to be "6," thus making the rest of her solution 
tentative. M. F. C. does the algebra all right up to the 
conclusion that the present ages are dz, Qz, and 7z ; 
it then assumes, without giving any reason, that 
7:: = 21. 

Of the more honourable. Delta attempts a novelty — 
to discover wliicli son comes of age by elimination : it 
assumes, successively, that it is the middle one, and that 
it is the youngest ; and in each case it aiJparently brings 
out an absurdity. Still, as the proof contains the 
following bit of algebra, " 63 ~ 7x + 4?/ ; .*. 21 = a; + 4 
sevenths of y,'' 1 trust it will admit that its proof is not 
quite conclusive. The rest of its work is good. Magpie 
betrays the deplorable tendency of her tribe — to appropri- 
ate any stray conclusion she comes across, without having 
any strict logical right to it. Assuming A, B, C, as the 
ages at first, and D as the number of the years that have 
elapsed since then, slie finds (rightly) the '6 equations, 
2 A — i>, C = B -{- A, I) — 2 Jj. She then says " supposing 
that A = l, then B = 2, C=3, and i> = 4. Therefore for 
A, B, C\ D, four numbers are wanted which shall be to 

Answers to Kxot X. 149 

each other as 1 : 2 : 3 : 4." It is in the " therefore " that 
I detect the unconscieutiousness of this bird. The con- 
clusion is true, but this is only because the equations are 
"homogeneous" {i.e. having one "unknown" in each 
term), a fact which I strongly suspect had not been 
grasped — I beg pardon, clawed — by her. Were I to lay 
this little pitfall, " A + 1=B, B + 1 = C ; supposing A = l, 
then B = 2, and 6'= 3. Therefore for A, B, C, three 
numbers are wanted w^hich shall be to one another as 
1:2: 3," would you not flutter dowm into it, oh Magpie, 
as amiably as a Dove ? Simple Susan is anything but 
simple to me. After ascertaining that the 3 ages at first 
are as 3 : 2 : 1, she says " then, as two-thirds of their sum, 
added to one of them, = 21, the sum cannot exceed 30, 
and consequently the highest cannot exceed 15." I 
suppose her (mental) argument is something like this : — 
" two-thirds of sum, + one age, = 21 ; .*. sum, + 3 halves 
of one age, = 31 and a half. But 3 halves of one age 
cannot be less than 1 and-a-half (here I perceive that 
Simple Susan would on no account present a guinea to 
a new-born baby ! ) hence the sum cannot exceed 30." 
This is ingenious, but her proof, after that, is (as she 
candidly admits) " clumsy and roundabout." She finds 
that there are 5 possible sets of ages, and eliminates four 
of them. Suppose that, instead of 5, there had been 
5 million possible sets ? Would Simple Susan have 

1 50 Appendix. 

courageously ordered in the necessary gallon of ink and 
ream of paper ? 

The solution sent in by C. R is, like that of Simple 
SusAX, partly tentative, and so does not rise higher 
than being Clumsily Right. 

Among those who have earned the highest honours, 
Algernon Bray solves the problem quite correctly, but 
adds that there is nothing to exclude the supposition 
that all the ages were fractional. This would make the 
number of answers infinite. Let me meekly protest 
that I never intended my readers to devote the rest 
of their lives to writing out answers! E. M. Rix points 
out that, if fractional ages be admissible, any one of the 
three sons might be the one " come of age " ; but she 
rightly rejects this supposition on the ground that it 
would make the problem indeterminate. White Sugar 
is the only one who has detected an oversight of mine : 
I had forgotten the possibility (which of course ought 
to be allowed for) that the son, who came of age that 
year, need not have done so by that day, so that he 
might be only 20. This gives a second solution, viz., 
20, 24, 28. Well said, pure Crystal ! Verily, thy " fair 
discourse hath been as sugar" 1 

Answers to Knot X. 



Algernon Bray. 

S. S. G. 

An Old Fogey. 


E. M. Rix. 

T. R. 

G. S. C. 


White Sugar, 

C. R. 




Simple Susan, 

Dinah Mite. 


M. F. C 

I have received more than one remonstrance on my 
assertion, in the Chelsea Pensioners' problem, that it 
was illogical to assume, from the datum " 70 p. c. have 
lost an eye," that 30 p. c. have not. Algernon Bray 
states, as a parallel case, " suppose Tommy's father gives 
him 4 apples, and he eats one of them, how many has 
he left ? " and says " 1 think we are justified in 
answering, 3." I think so too. There is no "must" 
here, and the fhda are evidently meant to fix the answer 

152 Appe:n^dix. 

exactly: but, if the question were set me "how many 
must he have left ? ", I should understand the data to 
be that his father gave him 4 at least, but may have 
given him more. 

I take this opportunity of thanking those wdio have 
sent, along with their answers to the Tenth Knot, regrets 
that there are no more Knots to come, or petitions 
that I should recall my resolution to bring them to an 
end. I am most grateful for their kind words ; but I 
think it wisest to end what, at best, was but a lame 
attempt. " The stretched metre of an antique song " 
is beyond my compass ; and my puppets were neither 
distinctly in my life (like those I now address), nor yet 
(like Alice and the Mock Turtle) distinctly out of it. 
Yet let me at least fancy, as I lay down the pen, that 
I carry with me into my silent life, dear reader, a 
farewell smile from your unseen face, and a kindly 
farewell pressure from your unfelt hand ! And so, good 
night ! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say 
" good night ! " till it be morrow. 



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